Our Visit with the Congressman

I spent an hour on Tuesday morning with U.S. Congressman John Spratt, who represents the 5th Congressional District of South Carolina. The Congressman is Chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee and the second ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee.

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Congressman John Spratt

Donna Isgett, Vice President of Clinical and Operational Effectiveness, joined me for the meeting. Donna is a national leader in quality and safety and I wanted Congressman Spratt to see some of the work McLeod Health is involved with in making our work safer, better and more effective. We shared with him the measurable results our physician led teams are achieving in providing evidence based medicine, reducing costs and reducing mortality.

We also reviewed a model that Fulton Ervin and JoAnne Allen are working on which measures the impact of some of the proposed cuts in payments that are being discussed in the health reform debate. Fulton is our McLeod Chief Financial Officer and JoAnne leads our Reimbursement and Cost Accounting Departments as Director of Reimbursements. Specifically, we showed Congressman Spratt the assumptions for the model and how the ‘Public Plan’ (discussed in the blog on 7/1) would harm a ’safety net’ healthcare system like McLeod. We also discussed the impact of reductions in a federal and state program to help with hospitals who treat a greater share of Medicare, Medicaid and Charity patients (Disproportionate Share Program). The model points out the need to hold on any reductions in Physician reimbursement.

Congressman Spratt was helpful in discussing the information. His twenty-plus years on the U.S. House Budget Committee gave him insight and understanding to our financial model. He certainly has a good grasp of the numbers involved. His suggestions and discussion of the various reform plans being discussed was helpful to our understanding of what is occurring in Washington. He also asked for ideas about alternatives. We discussed expanding and ‘federalizing’ Medicaid to cover a larger percent of the population and the specific problems we have with supply items like medications, orthopaedic implants and cardiac devices and implants.

I want to thank the team who assisted me in preparing for and planning this meeting – Dick Tinsley, Donna Isgett, Fulton Ervin and JoAnne Allen. When we work as a team, we are stronger and better prepared for these historic and challenging times. We appreciate the time and attention Congressman John Spratt gave to hear and understand our thoughts and ideas. Time permitting, I hope to update you on additional meetings we are having about these health reform changes and how they will impact McLeod and our mission.

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