Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Musings and Mules...

The word on the street is that DRMC may soon be under new ownership, or at least management. Of course, this has been rumored since shortly after the merger of the two hospitals, so who knows where the truth lies. I have many friends who work at DRMC and two have reported that work hours are being cut in an effort to save money. That is a commendable effort, but it may be too little, too late.

If providing cost efficient health care was among DRMC's long range goals, purchasing King's Daughters was not a very wise decision. What happened to the vision of a new hospital? Why are so many local physicians leaving the area? Most hospital mergers are intended to eliminate duplicated services, allowing for new technology and expanded services. So what new or expanded services have we seen as a result of this merger?

Of course it is easy to look down from 40 thousand feet and still miss the big picture... but, I just don't see it. Quality medical care is vital to Greenville's ability to attract industry and jobs. Health care and Education in the Delta share one unfortunate commonality. Both are viewed by citizens as entitlements which should largely be supported by our tax dollars. As tax payers (or not) we should all have access to public education and basic health care... and we do. However, if we expect "quality" and "positive outcomes" in either of these basic services, we must invariably turn to the private sector.

Let's face it, government run programs are generally not noted for their efficiency or effectiveness. I think the recent FEMA debacle proves that. I believe that it was Mr. Twain himself who so aptly stated, "The most efficient way to starve a mule to death is to put a government committee in charge of feeding him. The mule will die quickly and ultimately, there will be no one to blame."


1 comment:

Local Reflector said...

Great point on an area providing "basic medical care." What the community may be experiencing is a situation where DRMC tried everything it could to get over a medical services "hump" and couldn't quite get there.

In its failed wake comes reduced hours for employees, etc. The area is returning to the status of "basic medical care" - which, by the way, isn't a right but a privilege that should be cherished, appreciated and supported within limits of acceptable service on behalf of medical providers.

The KDH takeover, like it or not, guaranteed the DRMC reign is now permanent. No competition will enter the fray for an intra-city battle for medical supremacy. KDH is gone and gone is the competitive fire that makes leaders creative and more efficient. Employees have nowhere to turn should DRMC reduce hours or benefits - especially they're "of the Delta" and can't fathom any better place to call home.

It will be difficult to discern any winners if management changes because the changes will be brought by financial struggles and other maladies whether self-inflicted or not. Someone loses their job...the community sees its only hospital on a shaky foundation (especially with Medicaid reimbursements being scrutinized)...the hospital can only cut back on its services, thus making it anti-competitive with regional medical offerings and county leaders face prospects of using tax money to bail a bucket-full of red ink.

The taxpayer gets it no matter what. I must admit that some clouds have no silver lining.