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Section A: General News


Hospital district braces for ‘ObamaCare’ ramifications


Hospital district braces for ‘ObamaCare’ ramifications
Peter Maddox


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Wilson County News
April 24, 2013
2,494 views
5 comments

FLORESVILLE -- All facets of the health-care industry are scrambling to prepare for the multitude of changes associated with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 -- commonly known as “ObamaCare.” The Wilson Memorial Hospital District board of directors -- which oversees the Connally Memorial Medical Center here -- is addressing this issue as part of its strategic planning, with the first such session held during its April 18 board meeting.

“When it comes to 2014 and beyond, it may be murky,” said consultant Peter Maddox of Royer-Maddox-Herron Advisors, who led the session. “There’s no one, clear, black and white message.”

In addition to Maddox’s presentation, the board, area doctors, and hospital staff engaged in informal discussions that were a mix of questions and answers, along with airing of concerns. Maddox said that ultimately, health plans will be the overall winners when it comes to ObamaCare. And while 26 states -- including Texas -- have rejected the new Medicaid requirements, he believes that governors eventually will acquiesce to the wishes of the federal government.

“Governor [Rick] Perry probably will roll over,” Maddox said. “I’ve been told he cannot resist the hue and cry coming from various corners of the state, from doctors and hospitals.”

Jerome Brooks, Connally’s chief executive officer, said after the meeting that the hospital anticipates losing more than $6 million in patient-care reimbursement as a result of the PPACA.

“[The act] will transform health care financing and delivery by rewarding health care providers for reducing costs within the delivery system, promoting health and wellness in managed populations, and achieving quantifiable patient care outcomes,” he said.

Brooks indicated that his personal view of ObamaCare is mixed.

“I recently heard someone compare it to trying to build an airplane while in flight,” he said. “The optimist in me sees the program as a way to transform health care in our country by improving community health. On the other hand, if it becomes a bureaucratic web of projects and paperwork, that only benefits a few. This may not necessarily guarantee a better healthcare system...that is focused on the patient. That’s why we all need to be engaged in the conversation and planning, regardless of our motivations and incentives.”

The board plans to continue its strategic planning discussions through August, when it finalizes the hospital district’s fiscal year 2014 budget.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the March financial and statistical report. According to Finance Director Patricia Solis, the hospital saw a net income of $157,973 for the month, which is $94,083 shy of the budgeted $252,056. Despite this, the hospital is still ahead of the same period in 2012, when it finished March with a net income of $142,893.

Year-to-date, Connally has realized a net income of $772,227, compared to a projected $1,706,656. Solis expressed confidence that the hospital will gain ground before year’s end, thanks to increased operating efficiency and a second anticipated meaningful-use incentive payment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In attendance: board members Ronnie Eckel, Tommy Soriero, Monica Flores, Sam Carter, Jimmy Fietsam, Sandy Yow, and Keith Johanson; Chief of Staff Dr. Emily Frye, Administrative Assistant Shirley Bienek, Finance Director Pat Solis, Marketing Director Nancy Preyor-Johnson, Chief Nursing Officer Celeste Brizzee, Chief Executive Officer Jerome Brooks, Human Resources and Risk Management Director Dane Bonecutter, Director of Physician Practice Operations Brandi Nutt, surgical nurse Sue Tackitt; doctors Jim Brand and Daryl Currier; and Karl Hittle and Curtis Rojas of Endeavor Healthcare.

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Your Opinions and Comments

 
Bob Pritts  
St Hedwig, TX  
April 25, 2013 3:44pm
 
Facts Geez! I spent over 20 years of my business career as a corporate executive officer. I must have attended and held hundreds of meetings, and I never knew until now that expressing personal thoghts or opinions in ... More ›

 
Facts only please  
TX  
April 24, 2013 10:25pm
 
He can voice his personal comments all he wants, but during a business meeting acting as a paid employee. It is called ethics. I know that is hard for most people to understand.

 
Glenn Quagmire  
Quahog, Rhode Island  
April 24, 2013 2:39pm
 
Wow, Facts, hate the First Amendement much?

 
Facts only please  
TX  
April 24, 2013 1:53pm
 
Brooks needs to keep his personal comments to himself. He is getting paid to do a job and it appears he is not performing to expectations.

 
Webmaster  
Floresville  
April 24, 2013 12:11pm
 
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