Congressman tours Bloomsdale Medical Centre
Jason Smith, a member of the United States House of Representatives for Missouri’s 8th congressional district toured Bloomsdale Medical Centre Monday, September 21.
Several members of the medical staff had the opportunity to talk to him about practicing healthcare in a rural setting.
Mary Crecelius, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, detailed to the congressman the unique services that the hospital and Bloomsdale Medical Centre offer women--exceptional considering the high percentage of rural clinics and hospitals that have closed their women’s services altogether.
Dr. Kelli Boelens spoke with Congressman Smith on the challenges with recruiting physicians to rural areas and the student loan forgiveness program.
Following the tour, the congressman held a round-table discussion and listened to the pressing healthcare concerns from Tom Keim, CEO and the SGCMH leadership team of Rita Brumfield, Chief Nursing Officer; Jon Bransetter Chief Financial Officer; Missy Sutton Director of Quality Improvement; Sarah Kelley Director of Human Resources; and Jeffie Lewis Director of Physician Clinics. Veronica Sharlow, SGCMH Board of Trustees Secretary was also present for the congressman’s visit.
Brumfield brought up the subject of the 96-hour rule for critical access hospitals (CAH) that require a physician to certify that a patient may reasonably be expected to be discharged or transferred to another hospital within 96 hours of admission. Enforcing the condition of payment will force CAHs to eliminate these “96-hour plus” services. The resulting financial pressure will severely affect their ability to operate and, therefore, threaten access to care for beneficiaries in rural communities.
Sutton brought to the congressman’s attention the meaningful use mandates that hospitals have had to adhere to in order to avoid paying penalties.
Keim explained that when he began working at Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital, bad debt and charity care was around the $700,000 mark. Today that has risen to over $4,000,000.
Congressman Smith said he understands many of these problems facing rural healthcare, and he’s heard the problems echoed throughout his district.
“We need to eliminate the time-consuming, costly regulations that get in the way of the doctor-patient relationship,” he said.
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