BMH working to control costs, provide quality health care

BMH working to control costs, provide quality health care

Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 9:11 pm

BMH working to control costs, provide quality health care | Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City

Local hospital administrator Brad Parsons (right) presented an informative view of the impact health care reforms during each of three sessions held Thursday. Talking with Parsons after one of the session were Phillip Harris and Phillip Pinion

Staff Reporter
Health care reform is costing the Baptist Health Care System — which includes Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City — more than $100 million, according to BMH-UC CEO Brad Parsons.
Parsons was the lone speaker at three health care briefings held last week at the local hospital. He used a PowerPoint presentation to outline the impact health care reform is having on the Baptist Health Care System and on hospital patients.
Staggering may be the best word to describe the data and financial impact involved in health care reform.
Parsons provided an array of statistics that all point to a system that needs to be reformed, and February 2013 is the target date for the local hospital to implement significant changes in the way it handles patient care.
One health care report concluded 30 percent of what hospitals spend on health care adds no clinical value.
“As a hospital administrator, I’m disturbed by this fact and I think as consumers of health care you should be disturbed by this, too,” Parsons said.
Another medical report estimated nearly 4.4 million hospital admissions ($30.8 billion in hospital costs) could have been prevented. Those were just two of the trends highlighted by Parsons during his presentation.
All three of his presentations were well attended as Parsons outlined how Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City is working to control costs while also providing quality health care for its patients.
He explained there are numerous reasons contributing to less money to go around for health care — growing state and federal debt, the burden of employer-sponsored health insurance, the impact of Medicaid and Medicare and the dilemma of the uninsured.
A series of charts illustrated how health care costs are skyrocketing and will continue to escalate into the future. Parsons said one of the most significant factors influencing the health care industry is the aging Baby Boomer generation.
In order to manage health care costs, the federal government is implementing a new funding formula beginning in 2015 that requires hospitals nationwide to meet new “meaningful use” guidelines. Those hospitals that fail to meet the new federal requirements would be in jeopardy of losing key federal funding.
For Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City, that would amount to about $400,000 a year, according to Parsons.
“We can’t afford to take that loss every year,” Parsons said.
So, the Baptist Health Care System is implementing a new computerized documentation system for its chain of 14 hospitals. The new electronic records system (Baptist CD) represents an investment of more than $100 million.
“It’s already implemented in six of our largest facilities and now we’re aggressively pursuing the electronic records in the other eight facilities, which includes Baptist Union City,” Parsons said.
He went on to say the plan represents a “huge culture change” and the “Go Live” target date for the local hospital is February 2013.
“I can’t put enough emphasis on the fact that this changes everything that we do on a daily basis … and even though it’s exciting, it’s also a bit scary,” Parsons said.
He also emphasized the importance of a new term being used in health care — Value Based Purchasing.
The concept rewards value, not volume, in health care, according to Parsons. He explained the local hospital relies on its patients to determine the actual “value” of their health care experience.
Patient survey forms and accurate patient diagnosis and treatment are being used as quality indicators, which go into how a hospital is ranked.
The federal government will begin tying a percentage of its payments for health care services to “performance in quality and outcomes,” according to Parsons.
What that means for patients at the local hospital is patient satisfaction surveys will play a key role in how a hospital is rated, and hospital ratings will be used by the federal government in determining health care payments.
Parsons said he was proud to report that Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City is ranked in the top 10 tier of patient satisfaction and will continue to be focused on quality health care and patients’ “entire experience” when they are at the hospital.
One of the key areas that is being targeted is improved integration between physicians and the hospital, which Parsons said is “critical.”
He also stressed the need for the hospital to focus on “health care” and not just “sick care.” That goal is being achieved through such hospital projects as Health Quest.
In all, 51 people attended the three sessions Thursday, according to a hospital spokesman.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at

Published in The Messenger 5.16.11

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