By Bob Henger, CEO, Northwest Medical Center
Editor's Note: This article appeared in the 12-18-19 edition of the Journal Record newspaper.
The rising cost of healthcare remains one of the most pressing issues in the nation, holding the attention and thought process of politicians and industry leaders alike.
The crisis places considerable financial burdens on both providers and patients. In 2017, the national health expenditure increased by 3.9% to $3.5 trillion with $365.5 billion coming from patients' out-of-pocket expenses alone. Total healthcare costs are projected to hit nearly $6 trillion by 2027 according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Budgetary strategies and maintaining financial solvency are the biggest challenges in healthcare today for hospitals and other providers.
The current cost structure in healthcare is not sustainable, particularly as the Medicare population grows. It's a huge budget issue for the government, and there's a lot of citizens out there who need care who aren't getting it. They just can't afford it.
Medicare premiums for basic coverage will rise in 2020, and so will deductibles for doctor and hospital visits. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient services such as lab tests and diagnostic screenings, will go up nearly 7% to $144.60, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Premiums are based on income, so Part B beneficiaries with higher incomes will pay even more; $202.40 per month for individuals with annual income between $87,000 and $109,000, for example.
By Bob Henger, CEO Northwest Medical Center
Since taking on the responsibility of CEO at Northwest Medical Center in July, with the support of our entire staff, we have made steady progress in minimizing patient complaints and improving the care and service we provide to our patients. I personally investigate every patient complaint brought to our attention. We fully investigate the concern or complaint and report back to the individual with our findings. If our service is not what it should be, we also communicate any corrective actions we put in place to fix the problem and prevent future occurences.
What I have found most damaging, defenseless and difficult to overcome is the hyper-escalating culture in which one person utilizes social media to voice their complaints before attempting to resolve the issue with us directly. This has a considerable negative effect on our hospital's reputation.
Lung cancer is the deadliest form of cancer in the U.S. But mortality rates have been falling for decades, driven by medical advances and historic decreases in cigarette smoking. The benefits, however, have not been shared equally. What was historically a men’s disease is now disproportionately affecting women. A 2018 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that rates of lung-cancer incidence actually rose over the past 20 years among women born around either 1950 or 1960; in younger women, diagnoses fell, but not as much as among men.
The Winfield Hospital had its official opening in 1949 and since that time has been serving the primary health care needs of Marion, Fayette, Lamar, Walker and Winston Counties.
In this modern era, Northwest Medical Center has added many specialized services reaching beyond our primary service area into a regional service facility. A modern, well-equipped replacement hospital was built in 1998 and compliments the quality of our Medical Staff and patient care.
Digital mammography can detect early-stage breast cancer.
If you're a woman 40 years of age or older, you should have a mammogram every year.
Schedule your mammogram today by calling us at (205) 487-7748. (A physician's order is required).
In the fairy tale "The Princess and the Pea," the heroine cannot sleep because she can feel a very small lump, even though it's covered by dozens of mattresses.
In real life, we are not that lucky. By the time we can feel a lump in our own breasts, a cancerous tumor could possibly have grown larger and spread beyond the breast into other areas of our bodies.
The process for requesting a patient's medical records includes obtaining a medical release of information authorization that is signed and dated by the patient.