Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bolivar Medical Center CEO Resigns

Area News:

Cleveland's daily newspaper reports that Bolivar Medical Center's CEO, Steve Nichols, has resigned his position. According to Nichols, recent changes in health care have caused him to reconsider his career options. Bolivar Medical Center is owned by LifePoint, Inc., a major for-profit, publicly traded, corporation operating out of Brentwood, Tennessee.

LifePoint officials expressed gratitude to Mr. Nichols for his service and leadership over the past three years. An immediate search for the CEO's replacement has begun.

It seems that DRMC has not cornered the market on health care controversy. Although the news report is rather vague as to the exact "changes" that prompted Mr. Nichol's resignation, one can assume that the upcoming Medicaid battle is most likely a factor.

It is difficult to fathom how our elected "leaders" in Jackson can justify taxing hospitals over cigarettes as solution to the Medicaid sinkhole. Why should we tax those citizens who "pay" for medical services by increasing the costs of insurance premiums and co-pays? The tobacco industry, which boasts of record profits, is directly responsible for the 38% rise in tobacco related diseases and deaths in the last decade... and yet we "choose" to tax hospitals over tobacco?

I think NOT! Haley Barbour "chooses" to protect the tobacco industry because he has direct financial ties to that industry. But even "Fat Cat Haley" is having difficulty selling this line of "bull" to smokers and non-smokers. Taxing the "cures" and protecting the "causes" of diseases is a hard sell at best, but it should prompt us all to look more closely at the motives of such "politicians".

Health care in Mississippi is in deep trouble; not for a lack of providers, but for a lack of insight into who and what steers its course. Mr. Nichols' resignation does not bode well for our Delta hospitals' future. How we fund Medicaid is an issue which will affect us all, directly or indirectly, and we should make our voices heard. Write your senators, representatives and Mr. Barbour and let them know that you do not support taxing our hospitals into closure.



fedup said...

Here's what I find amazing. Smokers are still being blamed, I believe in this article, for 38%rise in deaths. First, I'd like to see that report. I highly doubt that number. Second, in 1997 the New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the cost of smoking and compared it to what were then very low cigarette taxes. Even with those low taxes they concluded that smokers were alaready paying for their own health care with extra for the health care of nonsmokers.

Then in 1998 the Federal Government wanted money from Big Tobacco to pay for the smokers who'd already paid for themselves, but BT claimed it would go bankrupt and instead signed the Master Settlement Agreement. Basically the Feds and BT agreed to add a new 50 cent "tax" on cigarettes so smokers could then pay for their health care a second time. Smokers didn't get a say in any of this: they were just the sheep the wolves were having for dinner.

So smokers have paid for their health not once, but twice, and watched that money spent on wild and wonderful things like golf courses and road construction, and most especially lots and lots of ads saying that smokers are smelly and dirty and are killing little children.

But now, in 2008, the antismoking groups who've been getting fat off smokers' money all these years want smokers to pay the same bill a THIRD time... except that the money won't really be for their health, it will go to the antismoking groups to promote ideas like firing smokers for smoking at home.

Meanwhile everyone still blames smokers for driving up health costs and insurance companies slap them with surcharges. And now you want us to fund hospitals with our taxes, too? You all think we're the cash cow of the century. We're the single most taxed group in the U.S. We have taxation WITHOUT representation. Take our cigarette tax money, put it toward our future health costs and leave us alone!

Anonymous said...

glad u are back forthright! will the next headline read "DRMC ceo resigns"?

Southern Girl said...

ok so the smokers are paying the health bill. Now if we could get the welfare people (the ones riding the system) to pay there part we would be doing good.

Southern Girl said...

oppps type-o THEIR

Anonymous said...

if these medicaid cuts are made, some of these who "make a job out of not having a job" may find themselves looking for work. it would be a shame if they couldn't have a cell phone or get their nails and hair done. maybe some of these "good for nothings" would leave our state for greener pastures.

Anonymous said...

Smokers stink. They are not nearly paying their own healthcare costs. Dream on. As a healthcare professional, I can tell you that the 38% stat is modest. I think cigarettes should cost $20 a pack. Then, maybe the rest of us wouldn't be bothered with their
2nd hand smoke. It is a deadly habit no matter who you are. It certainly does nothing positive for our citizens or their health. Thank God Greenville is smart enough to pass the smoking ban in public restaurants! YAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh Happy Day when we see the headline read, "CEO Ray Humphreys resigns!!" All of DRMC will be partying!

In the DDT today said...

Humphreys addresses House panel

Thursday, June 26, 2008 3:54 PM CDT

JACKSON — Delta Regional Medical Center faces a $3 million loss this fiscal year and may default on bond payments for its purchase of The King’s Daughters Hospital, CEO Ray Humphreys told the House Medicaid Committee this morning.

And if the House approves the governor’s proposed hospital tax to fund the $90 million Medicaid deficit, DRMC’s problems will only worsen, said Humphreys.

In a presentation delivered just hours before the House reconvenes to vote on the governor’s plan, Humphreys confirmed that the hospital tax will result in $1.7 million in additional annual losses for DRMC. And if the hospital has to make budget cuts, doctors and other staff will be the first to go.

Humphreys did not denounce the governor’s plan, nor did he endorse the Medicaid funding solution promoted by House leaders — a higher cigarette tax.

But when Committee Vice Chair Robert Johnson, D-Natchez, asked Humphreys if the hospital tax would force him to cut personnel, Humphreys responded, “That’s the situation we’re facing now.”

Humphreys’ presentation highlighted the problems DRMC has suffered recently, including a loss of 29 doctors in the past four years and the closure of the state burn center.

He also emphasized DRMC’s role as a “safety net hospital” for the Delta. DRMC is the Delta’s only full-service hospital, supporting the region’s only Level II trauma center, open-heart surgery program, and neonatal intensive care unit. He also said that DRMC employs the Delta’s only infectious disease, endocrinology, rheumatology, and pulmonology specialists.

“DRMC is extremely critical and valuable to the Delta population,” Humphreys said, asking the committee to find a way to fund Medicaid that does not compromise the hospital’s ability to provide essential services.

Johnson said that Humphreys' presentation, which was followed by one from Gulfport Memorial Hospital, confirmed concerns he already had about the governor’s plan.

“Hospitals in areas with the highest need will suffer most under this plan,” said Johnson.

The House will make one final push for the cigarette tax solution when it holds a last-minute press conference to trumpet a new poll showing Mississippians’ support of a higher tobacco tax. Communities for a Clean Bill of Health, the organization that sponsored the poll, said it will not release the poll numbers until 1:30 today—just one half hour before the House reconvenes.

Nevertheless, the Jackson Free Press reported on Monday that, according to “sources,” the poll found 80 percent of Mississippians in support of the tax.

“That number is pretty good,” said CCBH spokesman Jarvis Dortch on Wednesday