Archive for April, 2013

Stay Informed

Monday, April 29th, 2013

The recent release of statistical information from four years of hospital data by the Department of Health and Human Services overlooks an important point about a portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The expansion of healthcare coverage for Medicaid is not about hospitals but about the health of our community and state. The current question being debated in the Legislature is really about whether to cover approximately 250,000 people with available federal funds.

McLeod Health is in favor of accepting the federal dollars for three reasons:

• Primary care for people without access to that care will improve health, lower the cost of care and prevent hospitalization. Many of these patients will never need the hospital but would have access to primary care where their health issues could be managed.

• The positive economic impact is clearly documented in the study from the USC School of Business, Medicaid Expansion in SC Report.  According to USC Research Economist, Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, “If South Carolina opts into the ACA Medicaid expansion, the April 2012 Milliman study prepared for the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services estimates that it would generate a total net increase in federal funding for the state of approximately $11.2 billion between 2014 and 2020 due to newly eligible enrollees. These increased federal dollars, which signify an inject of new procurement activity to the state that would not exist otherwise, represent an unambiguous benefit to South Carolina’s economy.”

• Other portions of ACA call for Medicare payment cuts, taxes, fines, fees, increased premiums due to new coverage requirements – all set to be implemented by federal law – whether or not South Carolina accepts the available federal funds and participates in the Medicaid expansion. The State of South Carolina should not reject the first three years of federally provided coverage.

It is important that everyone remain informed about the health care issues and challenges which face us all in the weeks and months ahead.

Thanks,
Rob

Sequestration

Friday, April 12th, 2013

You have been hearing this word in the news a great deal lately.

So….What is Sequestration?

It is a term used to describe the practice of using mandatory spending cuts in the federal budget. If the cost of running the government exceeds the revenue it brings in during the fiscal year, sequestration means automatic reductions to government support programs.

How will it affect us? It is a question I have been asked frequently by the team. On elevators, in the hallways, after meetings – how will the sequester affect McLeod?

As you know, the sequester began April 1st and includes a 2% decrease in payments for medical services rendered to Medicare patients. We must provide the nursing care, give the medicines, perform surgery, take x-rays … and receive 2% less than we received last year for the same services.

Why?

Because health care is very expensive and the current cost is not sustainable … because the government could not agree on how to control expenses in this recession and the sequester cuts were necessary … both answers help us to understand the “Why” question.

But then I am asked … which is probably the intent of the first question … “How much?”

From April to September, the answer is nearly $3,000,000 for services at McLeod Health. This is the breakdown by facilities:

For remainder of 2013:

McLeod Regional $2,080,097
Darlington $42,990
Dillon $136,146
Loris Seacoast $329,696
MPA $320,000

Summary 2013 $2,908,929

For 2014 – full year:

McLeod $3,212,222
Darlington $75,075
Dillon $230,425
Loris Seacoast $544,440
MPA $640,000

Summary 2014 $4,702,162

We must find a way to remove cost from the process of caring for patients. How do we help the patient receive the right care in a safe way at a lower cost is the question we must ask and answer. The health of our nation depends upon our answer.

Thanks for your service to others,
Rob