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Hold put on ER, OR expansions

Posted on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Lincoln County Health System officials Tuesday evening placed a temporary hold on plans to expand the emergency and operating rooms at Lincoln Medical Center.

Jamie Guin, chief executive officer, said it doesn’t make sense to pursue the expansions and spend thousands of dollars right now. According to Guin, the cost was estimated at $8 million for the building price, which doesn’t include the cost for consulting or equipment.

Quorum representative Chuck Ellis suggested that it would be best to prepare a return on investment analysis before moving forward with a construction plan.

In other action during the board meeting, officials voted to allow the license for the adult day care expire. Guin stated that there have been no adult day care patients. “The demand isn’t there,” he said, adding that several other adult daycares are closing for the same reason.

Board members also voted to change dental and vision vendors for the care centers.   The board voted to replace Marquis Mobile Dental Services, LLC with Heart Leaf Dental, and replace Tennessee Vision Services with Healthcare for Life. The changes will allow residents to be cared for in the nursing home facilities, rather than being transported to another location.

In the QHR report, Ellis referred to a Tennessee Hospital Association article that pointed to more Medicare cuts beginning Oct. 1. Those include cuts to Medicare reimbursements for physical therapy. Ellis estimated that it would cost the health system approximately a half million dollars in terms of decreased reimbursements.

“The physical therapy is a new item. There’s a financial cap for physical therapy services,” said Guin following the meeting.

A July 2012 Tripp Umbach analysis estimates that in 2013 as a result of the Medicare cuts, Tennessee alone will experience the loss of  11,279 jobs, economic losses and loss of access to health care in some areas of the state.

Major cuts to the Medicare Advantage program imposed by the Affordable Care Act have been somewhat delayed until 2013. An estimated $308 billion is expected to be cut from Advantage plans next year.

Also discussed was a new change that CMS has promulgated, requiring that government-owned hospitals do a community needs assessment, which will create a great deal of red tape, the CEO said. “It requires a ton of work in the financial area justifying charity care,” said Guin, adding that the changes are expected to reduce reimbursements to hospitals.

A bid from Lincoln Paving was approved for paving the Patrick Wellness and Rehab parking lot and constructing sidewalks. This was the third time the project was bid, due to changes in the specs. Lincoln Paving’s bid for the parking lot and sidewalks was $132,592. They also discussed and gave the nod to the construction of an entry cantilever canopy for the Patrick Rehab & Wellness, with some possible changes in roofing material. The canopy is designed to protect clients from the rain. 

New business on the agenda included recommendations made by David Groce, chief financial officer, that two capital equipment items be purchased for the hospital.

The first was a cell washer for the lab by Helmer, a Model ULtraCW, for the amount of $7,206. The budgeted amount for this item was $8,000. The second was a Primary Care Diagnostics vascular system for radiology that was also approved. The cost was $8,490.

Officials voted not to continue using the services of Enhanced Revenue Service, which negotiates medical waste contracts for the Health system.

Additionally, the board approved the amount of $5,920 for a Christmas party for the system’s employees. They also approved $46,000 to be used as bonuses for 600 employees as well as a Christmas bonus for 120 volunteers.

 In other action, officials voted to give preliminary approval for a Leadership Lincoln beautification proposal to beautify the corner lot next the Patrick Rehab & Wellness Center. The project may include landscaping and sodding.

 “Lack of permanence could be an issue,” said Guin.