Independent hospitals struggling against healthcare reform


September 15, 2010

USA Today reports that some of the facilities that are most affected by the Obama administration’s healthcare reform are independent or community hospitals that aren’t part of a chain, because they lack the power to get loans, supplies or the improvements mandated by the new law.

One hospital which is facing this problem, Quincy Medical Center, Massachusetts, has 80 percent of inpatient revenue from Medicare and Medicaid and is struggling against a $4.5 million debt. Currently, commercial insurers reimburse a hospital $1.33 for every $1 spent on a patient, while Medicare and Medicare pay 83 and 80 cents, respectively.

These financial difficulties may be worsened by the requirements of the healthcare bill, which stipulate that each hospital must keep electronic health records for patients and also make cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid payments.

Many fear that the hospital will have to cut personnel to stay in business, which could lead to reduced quality of care and more waiting time for patients.

One way that may reduce the time spent in a facility is to invest in a medical alert system. This will enable seniors to contact the proper authorities if an emergency occurs, but will otherwise allow them to live safely and independently at home.

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