Healthcare Reform and Hospitals

hospitalThe discussion on whether the Affordable Care Act is a success or not will most likely continue for years, but authorities at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward say, because of the ACA and other state and government cuts, it might not be around to see the accidental complication of healthcare change. St. Rose Hospital has had cash problems for years. In fact, it has almost closed a few times before. Its sufferers are mostly without insurance or under-insured. The new control group is making progress to keep a hospital open, but the discount rates in state and government cash might mean those gates close for good.

For sufferers like Ginny Almond, St. Rose Hospital’s place in Hayward is everything. She was recently rushed there for emergency surgery. She says a few years ago, St. Rose physicians saved her life after she almost passed away in a fire. “Very thankful that they were there and so close to where I stay,” Almond says. The personal, non-profit hospital admits almost 35,000 E.R. sufferers a year. With Kaiser Hayward closing, St. Rose will be the only service getting 911 sufferers in the Bay Area’s fifth biggest town.

Now, because of cash problems, St. Rose might have to shut down. “It’d be terrible for myself and for the group,” according to Almond. St. Rose’s Chief Financial Officer, Mark Krissman, points out, “If St. Rose no longer exists, that means lives are at stake because emergency vehicles have to journey a little bit further to another service.” He says, as a safety net hospital, St. Rose admits a huge number of without insurance and under-insured sufferers.

The charges those sufferers can’t pay have been sponsored by state and government programs, such as, Medicare and MediCal. The Affordable Care Act will decrease Medicare financial assistance by $22 billion dollars over the next five years. The idea is that more people will be covered and able to manage medical care. But Krissman claims his hospital still needs that cash, because St. Rose serves a poor community, many of whom might not sign up for insurance. “We will get $3.6 million less in compensation for the next 12 months,” according to Krissman. Add that to the $10,000 shortage Krissman says St. Rose shelves up every day, in part because MediCal doesn’t cover full service expenses.

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