Hospital Board hopes against future third-party managementJan 25th, 2013 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: Top Story
“We don’t have layers and layers of management anymore,” said St. Bernard Hospital interim CEO and
Hospital Board Chairman Wayne Landry. Thanks to the “wisdom and foresight” of the Hospital
Board, the parish’s hospital has $9.5 million in the bank instead of the estimated $3.5 million projected had Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System stayed as third-party managers, said Landry at the Chamber of Commerce January meeting.
The breakup of the Hospital/Franciscan partnership in early October 2012, was well publicized, and the board, especially Landry, was well scrutinized. Landry sited “philosophical differences” between the two parties, especially when considering that the parish hospital only has 40 beds, while some of the Franciscan’s other clients has as many as 700 beds.
The board has since been managing the hospital, which as produced some facts and figures the board and
staff are proud of— the $9.5 million especially, but also the amount of patient care offered to the parish. See table at side for service figures.
Hiring its own CEO instead of a third-party managing company is what Landry says the board would like to do, but it is out of their hands. When the hospital was being financed, investment firm Goldman Sachs agreed to buy hospital tax credits, and they entered into a contract stipulating that the hospital be run by a third party. The hospital board as since asked Goldman Sachs to release them from this obligation so it can hire its own CEO. Goldman Sachs hired a company to evaluate the hospital and make a recommendation. The board must wait for this report before it can make its next move, but feels the hospital impressed the evaluators.
“We’re on pace to see about 22,000-24,000 [patients] in this emergency room” in 2013, Landry announced.
Since fully opening on September 14, the hospital has treated 7,557 emergency room patients. But, according to Landry, 2,500 were not emergencies.
“This is a problem for us,” explained Landry. “A lot of people in the 7,557, are people who don’t require emergency services.”
Called indigent patients, these are often people without health insurance who go to emergency rooms for ailments that should be treated by appointment in a clinic; Landry’s example was treating people in the ER for the common cold. ERs cannot reject patients, but more often than not, these patients will never pay for the treatment they receive. Landry estimates 33-34 percent of St. Bernard Hospital emergency room visits were by indigent patients.
A small help is that because the hospital is considered “rural,” it can receive $1 million for reimbursement for that unpaid care from the state after open for a year. Money aside, Landry is also concerned about indigent patients’ impact on the hospital’s reputation. If you have a legitimate emergency but wait in the ER for four hours because of patient volume, you leave with a bad impression, said Landry. (On a side note, Landry pointed out that despite this, St. Bernard Parish Hospital’s four-hour average wait time is lower than the metro area’s six-hour average.)