Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hospitals in Hands of Voters

I posted this over at Med-Politics Blog and am now re-posting here with the outcome of the vote added at the end.

This is one of the headlines on the front of my local news. The article can't be read there without a subscription, but can be read here in full as it was reprinted on the AARP website.

Statewide, at least 11 small community hospitals receive some community support, typically in the form of sales taxes or millages, said Paul Cunningham, senior vice president for the Arkansas Hospital Association. Most of them have had local taxes approved within the last five or six years.

Nationwide, community hospitals are struggling under the weight of low reimbursement rates, high levels of charity care, increasing demand from an aging population, and difficulties recruiting doctors and other medical personnel to rural areas, said Rick Wade, senior vice president with the American Hospital Association.

I think this will only become ever more common as reimbursements are lowered or not paid (never events). For all those who feel that medical care is a right and not a privilege, how do you propose to prevent hospitals and clinics from closing due to lack of funding? It doesn't really matter about coverage, if there is no access, does it? Massachusetts is finding that out.

I don't have the answers. I have never aimed to get rich on the backs of folks who need my care, but I like to be able to pay my bills. I like to be paid a fair "wage". I will never be paid as the ousted CEO's (nor do I think I should) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been, but neither have I ever made what the public thinks I do.

Update on the vote outcome:

The vote outcome didn't make the front page of the paper. It was on the 3rd page of the B (or Arkansas) section of the paper in the Wednesday paper, but it was above the fold. Once again, I can't link the the newspaper article as you need a subscription to read it.

The 85-yr Hot Spring County Medical Center will stay open. The county voters over-whelming approved a 5-year, one-half percent sales tax. (4,844 for and 633 against)

Voters in Chicot County also approved a sales-tax increase to support Chicot Memorial Hospital in Lake Village. Theirs is a 5-year, 1 percent sales tax. (1,244 for, 586 against)

3 comments:

The Medical Quack said...

Good post Ramona, and I carried it over to the Medical Quack. I have been running a series called "Desperate Hospitals" there and this fit right into the same attempt to create an awareness of what is happening all over the US.

The stories have been on Reuters and right now one is on the Chicago Sun Times and I'll give you the links. Thanks much for posting this and making all aware as it is a problem all over that I agree it does not seem to get the attention it deserves.

http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/2008/09/desperate-hospitals-hospitals-in-hands.html

http://www.post-trib.com/news/blogentries/index.html?bbPostId=BAfMYODD5A1mB4i22hiR9pHlCzEhOTp8g6k95Cz13oEfnro26q

Chrysalis Angel said...

I certainly don't know what the answer is. It is such a mess. The insurance companies are making a mess of things. We need to get them out of the Dr./patient relationship. Fat chance! I am finding it truly awakening to see what physicians are dealing with on a daily basis, just trying to get appropriate and necessary testing covered for their patients. Not defensive medicine tests - these are crucial tests needed. Every person that takes a job, expects to get paid. Just try telling your office staff they won't be paid that week and maybe their pay will be cut for good and see what happens. I feel for the position you're in, PCPs probably have it the worst. You deserve to be paid. You are doing your job and payment is compensation. I'm afraid of what is going to go down with no answer in sight.

The Medical Quack said...

Little more coverage here, working at it, more need to be aware of the status of many of our hospitals today and the link to your blog is right in there as well.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/health/content/health/home/health_blogs.html?bbPostId=BAfMYODD5A1mB4i22hiR9pHlB5MBNhp9ixE7Cz2bKMkdpxFSh