In the DDT today said...
Humphreys addresses House panel By ELEANOR BARKHORN firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, June 26, 2008 3:54 PM CDTJACKSON —
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. A $3 million dollar loss would be about average if we were provided a true and accurate accounting of DRMC's annual P&L statements.
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. "Problems"... in Mississippi's "next great hospital"? 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. "Additional annual losses"? ... I thought Ray told us they were in the black?
And if the hospital has to make budget cuts, doctors and other staff will be the first to go. Makes sense... cut health care at the bedside rather than the board room... who needs nurses when you have have multiple layers of management who need jobs?
Humphreys did not denounce the governor’s plan, nor did he endorse the Medicaid funding solution promoted by House leaders — a higher cigarette tax. Ray, like Haley, probably has money in big tobacco as well. 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.” Or they could cut 2 layers of management and save twice the money...
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. All of which are directly related to Ray's administration's ineptitude and malfeasance.
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, total misrepresentation of accurate trauma level, open-heart surgery program, Joke, and neonatal intensive care unit. Unopened to date because of lack of medical and nursing staff.
He also said that DRMC employs the Delta’s only infectious disease, endocrinology, rheumatology, and pulmonology specialists. All inherited from plundering KDH who had previously recruited these 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.
For once, Ray "seems" to be on the right side, but you have to consider that he has not openly supported the tobacco tax. He seems to be sitting on the fence, willing to support whatever his political puppeteers tell him to do.
The most telling issue in this article is that Ray has admitted that DRMC is in trouble... something employees and taxpayers have known for over three years. Taxing hospitals over tobacco is blatantly wrong and if big tobacco wins this fight, it only goes to show that the "good ole boys" are still very much in power.
If you value the "pleasure" of smoking over the value of extending your life by 20 years, sit back and do nothing. If you value health care in Mississippi, get on your email and make your voice heard. Big bucks politicians wait for no one!