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Should closure of designated critical access hospitals be permitted?

Posted on 2014-09-19
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Last Modified: 2014-12-13

Should Not for Profit companies that make $100,000,000 in a year be able to close a designated critical access hospital (like Vidant's Belhaven)?


- for a new immoral business plan?


______________________________________________________[media:]
At least 14 rural hospitals have closed since last year, according to several reports.

"With us being so far away from everything, and not having an emergency room here, my wife's dead," her widower, Barry Gibbs, told Story of America as part of its "Battle for Belhaven" documentary web series. Residents of the Belhaven area need to travel more than an hour to receive emergency care. 48-year-old Portia Gibbs of Hyde County died after suffering a diabetic episode that triggered a heart attack. Vidant Pungo was 47 miles from the Gibbs' home, but now the closest hospital is 75 miles away. Emergency responders decided to wait for a helicopter instead of driving -- but it took over an hour to arrive, and by then it was too late.

O'Neal and others charge that the hospital's closing violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The NC NAACP filed a complaint under the law's Title VI banning discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funds, arguing that the hospital's closing would disproportionately affect minorities. The Department of Justice offered mediation, and Vidant Health agreed to work out a settlement allowing the hospital to be returned to the community -- but then shut its doors anyway. The NAACP refiled the federal complaint.

"This is not about mere dollars and cents," said the NC NAACP's Barber, who joined O'Neal for the start of his walk. "It's about life and death."

O’Neal and others argued that Vidant makes hundreds of millions in annual profits and that keeping open smaller facilities such as Pungo also turns a profit, just not as much as closing them and instead opening urgent-care facilities.

O’Neal’s argument that expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare could have prevented the hospital's closure puts him at odds with Republican leaders, considering North Carolina and 23 other states, all GOP-controlled and mostly southern, have refused Medicaid expansion.

O'Neal is also raising concerns about wealthy nonprofit hospital corporations like Greenville, NC-based Vidant Health shutting down critical access hospitals like Vidant Pungo. "Not for Profit companies that make $100,000,000 in a year shouldn't be able to close a hospital like Belhaven's they own for a new immoral business plan," O'Neal wrote in a press release published in his local paper. "We the people need to stand together to protect healthcare for all of us."

NC GOP mayor marches to DC to urge Medicaid expansion, prevention of 'medical deserts'
http://www.southernstudies.org/2014/07/nc-gop-mayor-marches-to-dc-to-urge-medicaid-expans.html
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/07/28/carolina-mayor-walks-to-washington-to-argue-administration-actions-help-closed/
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Question by:SunBow
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BigRat earned 50 total points
ID: 40439870
I don't know how many times I have heard it from Americans, that "private heath care" is the best system in the world and that America's system is the best of such systems.

Yet time and time again, in this forum and others, somebody posts something about why this system fails - and it mostly fails because somebody isn't making any money. And that somebody is always a health care provider.

But there are other inconsistancies in American logic, which we in France - ostensibly the most logical country on the planet - don't understand. Firstly that private companies make correct commercial decisions (like not shutting down something which makes a profit and like having whiskers for smelling out good business) and secondly that the government is basically bad and totally incapable of organising anything (except when we are celebrating the military or whatever). And thirdly the blind acceptance of the Log Cabin hullabaloo from the Tea Party (who now seem to have run out of milk). Remember Tippecanoe? One was dead in thirty odd days and the other turned out to be a real boner. Obama Care Bad. Although it actually puts more money on the table for the profiteers to grab. So we'll get rid of it an do what? Stop tweeking the system. It's broken.

The question begs decisions to be made by the community. But the community does not run the health care system, so the best achievable is to force companies to do this or that. At the end of the day that's worse that socialism. Why not turn the system around. The government collects mandatory national health insurance and regulates the prices which IT is prepared to pay out to the private sector. They reimburse say 70% of the costs (100% for certain life threatening things) and let the private sector provide an optional top insurance to those that want to cover the last 30%. The government does NOT run hospitals nor employs doctors or the like. However it would have the money to bribe the private sector to provide care in areas of need. And it has the flexibility of increaing the mandatory contributions, reducing the reimbursement rate, the care fees or even putting additional tax monies into the system.
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by:SunBow
ID: 40497915
[Abandoned (14 Days) = closing time]

> from Americans, that "private heath care" is the best system in the world

I, too, hear that, OTOH have experienced more benefit of care from one at a University, heard of 'better' care at VA. Also recall story of athlete having problem off-field, being taken to nearby County (public) hospital, intercepted by team (private care) to be admitted to University hospital.

Much of 'news' originates from those (private) seeking to profit personally. Recent case in point, legislation written, and apparently submitted by 'big banks' (Citigroup, Chase....) to deregulate/insure (for free) risk taking (gambling).

>  it mostly fails because somebody isn't making any money. And that somebody is always a health care provider.

I'd seen that also, where accounting a major problem. First was 'company' owned by doctors, who would theoretically be more frugal. Second was doctors be served by company of accountants, theoretically handling finances, improved collections & paperwork. Both abysmally failing.

> The question begs decisions to be made by the community.

Hence MQ. More as a have vs have-not, for such as access to care and what is it with 'critical'.

> The government does NOT run hospitals nor employs doctors or the like.

In some ways I think it does, VA, county, state university.

> They reimburse say 70% of the costs (100% for certain life threatening things) and let the private sector provide an optional top insurance to those that want to cover the last 30%.

I think I essentially agree, were it predetermined what basic care should be (between gov, community, care professionals) and the extraordinary be separate (not all felons, criminals, death row (US)) priorities for some (choices/priorities for transplants, permission for taking unapproved/experimental drugs/care - such as the dying, those without options for improving conditions).
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