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Healthcare changes to impact SW Missouri

Friday, December 7, 2012

Changes in the national healthcare system will bring positive effects to southwest Missouri, reported Cox Monett Hospital President Genny Maroc to the Monett Kiwanis Club this week. Maroc shared data and conclusions from a report prepared by the University of Missouri School of Medicine's Department of Health Management and Informatics on the economic impacts of Medicaid expansion on Missouri.

"The healthcare sector is good for Missouri, employing nearly 13 percent of Missouri's non-farm workers," Maroc said. "Even through the recessions of 2001 and 2008, the sector had consistent growth."

The federal government's success in addressing the so-called "fiscal cliff" represents a major opportunity to help the state's economy through healthcare. Maroc said that if the federal budget is cut by sequestration because of inaction, there will be a 2 percent cut in Medicare.

That means the State of Missouri will see its funding for Medicare reduced by $620 million. The reductions would translate into $37 million less for southwest Missouri and $1,069,686 less for Cox Monett Hospital, Maroc said.

In addition, Medicare payments will be cut under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, further reducing money to Cox Monett Hospital by $377,131.35. Cuts in the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payment defined by the Affordable Care Act to Cox Monett would drop by another $2 million.

Cuts to hospital Medicare and Medicaid payments and the cost of treating the uninsured were designed to be offset by new revenue from the newly insured. The expansion of Medicaid, beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, is designed to cover a larger number of low-income individuals.

University researchers estimate that the benefit of placing the uninsured into a care program will result in a $9.6 billion value-added output to the economy. Maroc said individuals without health insurance are not as healthy as those with insurance. The uninsured, who number around 200,000 in Missouri, have historically gone to the emergency room for care, which typically costs more. By 2020, projections estimate 161,281 of the uninsured are expected to be covered under the expanded Medicare program.

"One of the report's conclusions is that Missouri's decision to opt in or opt out of the ACA's opportunity for Medicaid expansion will have a significant impact on the state's economy and on the health insurance coverage and health status of its residents" Maroc said.

New federal Affordable Care Act funds would create 24,008 jobs in Missouri, including 1,769 in southwest Missouri, in 2014, Maroc continued. The addition of jobs would reduce unemployment by 23 percent. State and local taxes generated between 2014 and 2020 would raise $2.2 billion for Missouri, including $162 million in southwest Missouri.

The new jobs created by the new healthcare legislation would play $6.9 billion in income in Missouri between 2014 and 2020, with $477 million of that coming to southwest Missouri.

"Increased Medicaid enrollment could result in nearly $1 billion in reduced premiums from 2014 to 2020 for privately insured individuals and families," Maroc said.

"If Missouri misses this opportunity, the result on the economy and the strength of its healthcare system could be disastrous," Maroc said. "Without action, Missouri's hospitals also will continue shouldering an increasing amount of uncompensated healthcare services to the uninsured, which totaled $1,109,262,049 in 2011, up 22.5 percent in one year."

Healthcare leaders and the Missouri Hospital Association are encouraging state leaders to expand the expansion of Medicaid in Missouri, a move supported by Governor Jay Nixon and which has been resisted by Republican leaders. The General Assembly also must act on creating a health insurance exchange as outlined by the Affordable Care Act, or the federal government will manage the exchange without state input.

Cox Monett Hospital remains a very active player in the local healthcare arena, Maroc said. Monett's hospital has more than 1,000 admissions annually, conducts more than 1,000 surgical procedures annually and delivers approximately 30 babies a month.

The hospital's emergency room serves over 14,000 patients a year. Maroc said the hospital initiated the "lean project" during the past year, asking patients for feedback on how to eliminate waste. Suggestions have helped to reduce the emergency room waiting time by 20 minutes, she said.

A new full-time pharmacist has been hired. Maroc said the hospital is currently recruiting for family practice, general surgery, orthopedic surgery and obstetrics/gynecology positions.

To further expand services, Maroc described the water therapy addition for the rehabilitation clinic at 700 E. Cleveland. The HydroWorx 500 Series aquatic therapy pool will allow low impact exercises in therapeutic warm water on an underwater treadmill to increase strength and flexibility.

The Cardiac Kids program, screening fifth graders for cardio-vascular issues, continues to help identify issues that can become serious in later life. The program is funded by the Children's Miracle Network.

The annual Dining for Diabetes fundraising dinner has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at the National Guard Armory in Pierce City. Funds raise help cover diabetes-related doctor visits and supplies for qualifying individuals through the Dining for Diabetes fund.

Janell Patton, public relations and community services director for Cox Monett, and hospital staff have also been working with a council of patients and family members. Input is sought from them for the decision-making process and in implementing suggestions.

Maroc, who came to Cox Monett from Iowa a year and a half ago, said she has found her work in Monett very rewarding. Smaller hospitals have more opportunities to be efficient than larger ones and to engage the community in healthcare.

Kiwanis President Gordon Brown presided at the meeting. Dayton Mackey was the program chairman.

In club news, club members were asked to assist in lining up participants for the annual Monett Christmas parade on Saturday morning. The speaker at next Tuesday's noon meeting will be the Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop #38 in Monett.

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Somebody is out of their mind if they actually believe such ridiculous propaganda relating to the economic "benefits" of the affordable health care act! All of those 24,000 jobs will be funded/supported by the ever decreasing number of us that actually hold private sector jobs and actually PRODUCE something and supports everything else. You can not just magically declare more people eligible for public charity of some sort, thereby giving more money into the economy and create new wealth and prosperity. Even a child could reason that is nonsense and completely unsustainable. Totaly amazing that poeple sit and listen to this without throwing up their hands.

-- Posted by common-tater on Sat, Dec 8, 2012, at 11:02 PM

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