Affordable Health Care Act May Present Detrimental Problems on Local Hospitals

River Park Hospital of nearby Warren County has taken steps to reduce its cost structure to deal with continued declining reimbursement and prepare for the future, according to hospital CEO Tim McGill, who announced the plan to staff yesterday.
“It was important we take steps now so that we could maintain a strong financial foundation which will allow us to support our key services as well as to care for patients who cannot pay or for whom payment will not cover the costs of care,” he said.  “The changes we are making will eliminate approximately $700,000 in costs during the coming year.”
“The healthcare industry as a whole is facing unprecedented challenges,” he said. “Hospitals from across the nation are experiencing lower reimbursement from both federal and state payers, higher uncompensated care, and costly health reform mandates as well as reductions in insured elective procedures.  In fact, federal health law will reduce reimbursements to Tennessee hospitals by at least $5.6 billion over the next 10 years. That money was supposed to be replaced through the expansion of Medicaid programs, called for in the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, since it appears that Tennessee will not be expanding Medicaid, we can anticipate continued growth of uninsured patients.”
McGill said that River Park, along with other hospitals throughout Tennessee, continues to be significantly impacted by these challenges.

Most of River Park’s savings were achieved through a reorganization and consolidation of management positions.  Only six positions were eliminated, including several that weren’t currently filled.  The positions consolidated were all in management. Most of the impacted employees were able to transfer to other positions that were open.  No patient care positions were eliminated. 
“We are working with two individuals for whom no position was available in order to facilitate as smooth a transition as possible for them. They do have the opportunity to transfer internally to a sister hospital if there are job openings for which they qualify. Decisions that involve the loss of even one job are never easy to make.”
Additionally, the Diabetes Treatment Center will be closed later this year.  “While we will still provide nutritional counseling and diabetes education to inpatients and offer periodic community education programs, we are closing the Diabetes Treatment Center. We will be working with our existing patients to complete current care plans and facilitate a smooth transition.”
“All hospitals must create the most cost-effective structure possible to succeed in this new economic reality and under healthcare reform.  While decisions like this are certainly difficult, they are necessary to assure that we can continue to fulfill our mission,” McGill said.
“During the past two years, we’ve made significant progress on a number of our goals, including those relating to providing the highest quality of care and ensuring a positive experience for our patients.  This is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our employees.  We will continue to work collaboratively with our employees and physicians to find the best ways to achieve our mission of providing the highest quality of healthcare to McMinnville and surrounding areas.”


Partner Station WBRY 
WBRY Source: Cannon County Courier  

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