Facing the dawn of a new era

Facing the dawn of a new era

We are facing the dawn of a new era in healthcare. Hospitals and healthcare providers across our nation are going to be facing a new world. Onslow Memorial Hospital and our medical staff will be no different in facing the challenges of this new world. This new world is being created by the socioeconomic imperatives of our time, which is driven by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Before us is a crisis that we all must be aware of; we must work together to find the path for survival.

This new dawn has yet to be defined. There are many uncertainties ahead, to include the following:

  • Declining reimbursement and revenue – the amount yet to be determined
  • Health Insurance Exchanges – no one knows the impact
  • Population Health – this concept has yet to be tested
  • Value-based Purchasing – even the experts don’t knowthe impact
  • ICD-10 – still uncertain if this will be implemented byOctober 2014
  • Medicaid expansion – we still don’t know if North Carolina will accep
  • Primary care access – still developing a model
  • The uninsured and underinsured – impact of bad debt and charity care unknown
  • Future inpatient and outpatient volumes – these arem anyone’s guess

What we do know is that we must work together as a team and develop a flexible strategy to address the above unknowns. It is important that everyone be aware that we are all facing the unknowns of this new era, and no hospital or healthcare delivery system has been tested for the demands that confront us.

It is important at this time that we all have a clarion voice to our State legislators that our community’s future is dependent on the viability of our hospital and medical staff. Our community healthcare delivery will be no stronger than the support of our community, and our staff and our community will be no stronger than the viability of our hospital and medical staff.

I recommend that everyone communicate with our state legislators on the following issues that could have grave consequences for our survivability:

  • Hospital sales tax refunds
  • Support for Community Care of North Carolina
  • The need for Medicaid expansion
  • Medicaid Disproportionate Share is a must
  • Medicaid reimbursements must not be reduced
  • Mental health must be addressed and supported at the State level

Onslow Memorial Hospital is the last standing social safety net for our community in that we provide medical care for everyone regardless of their ability to pay. As economic times worsen and many citizens elect to go uninsured, our financial viability will be tested by the demand for more uncompensated care. Many citizens of our community think we get tax support to run our hospital, and many citizens see our Emergency Department as a 24-hour free clinic. It is important that we let our State legislators know the significance of our hospital’s viability in our community.

As we approach the new dawn, we will be developing strategic plans to address how to provide healthcare services during these demanding times. I ask for everybody’s support as we work together to better serve our community.

This new dawn we face is like the unstoppable incoming tide. It reminds me of a poem in “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman that I have quoted before and is provided again below:

From Montauk Point

I stand as on some mighty eagle’s beak,

Eastward the sea absorbing, viewing,

(nothing but sea and sky,)

The tossing waves, the foam,

the ships in the distance,

The wild unrest, the snowy, curling caps –

that inbound urge and urge of waves,

Seeking the shores forever.

Sincerely,

Ed Piper, Ph.D.

Former President & Chief Executive Officer, 2000-2016

 

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