Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals

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    By SUZANNE SATALINE Faced with mounting debt and looming costs from the new federal health-care law, many local governments are leaving the hospital business, shedding public facilities that can be the caregiver of last resort.Full story here: Cash-Poor Governments Ditching Public Hospitals -

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  3. 14 Comments...

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    The costs of keeping public hospitals in operation were escalating out of control well before the passage of any federal healthcare law. These entities had already been insolvent and losing money for a very long time.

    In addition, public hospital closures are not a new phenomenon. When I was living in California in the 1990s, closures of county hospitals and facilities were the norm in the local newspapers and evening news broadcasts.
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Aug 30, '10 : Reason: added a paragraph
    tewdles, Neveranurseagain, VivaRN, and 4 others like this.
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    It's a real sign of the times today. Why downplay it?
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    I think, as nurses, this is a threat to our lives. While the governments need the money, both the workers and the community loses out in some way. We have seen in the press where uninsured people are being dumped, quicker and sicker, out of the hospital by for-profit hospitals, illegal immigrants (which is a whole different subject that gets people upset) who are ill are being dumped and/or sent back to their home countries to die and doctors AND nurses will soon be told this is what we will pay you - no negotiations because they are the largest and/or only provider in the area. I think there are good points (more money into the infrastructure) and bad points (are medicine and/or nursing really like businesses? Are people widgits that we produce and repair?) This subject needs more research. Wait and see time.
    Last edit by greytRNtobe on Aug 30, '10 : Reason: Grammar mistake
    Jarnaes and tokidoki7 like this.
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    it is a matter of priority.

    we could all be in an accident or become ill anywhere. it is important to have a hospital nearby.

    as nurses we need to work for this. and to support representatives who will do the right thing.

    with just one new county supervisor, mark ridley thomas, the unsafe hospital that couldn't even pass the joint commission is slated to re open years after closure. the supervisors didn't truly do what they should have to keep the standards up.
    supervisor ridley-thomas got donations from many, including millions from a wealthy physician. it was a good hospital with the #1 trauma center for many years.
    then it began a rapid decline.
    plans to reopen martin luther king jr. hospital in south l.a. move forward

    the los angeles county board of supervisors on tuesday [color=#2262cc]formally approved an agreement with the university of california that is expected to reopen martin luther king jr. hospital in the south los angeles area.

    tuesday's action permits county chief executive officer william t fujioka to work with the university system [color=#2262cc]to create a private nonprofit facility, known as hospitalco, that will run the hospital, which is expected to open in 2013. it will be smaller than it was before, operating at 120 beds instead of 233.

    under the agreement, the county will supply the building and financial support for the hospital in willowbrook, south of watts. uc is responsible for providing a chief medical officer and physicians and working with accrediting agencies to reestablish a teaching program at king....
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    As one doctor wrote in a piece posted elsewhere "the days of running a hospital with nuns and bake sales are over". Sad commentary on these times, and many may not agree, but healthcare is a business, one many local governments are finding they cannot afford.

    Hospitals not only cost vast sums to run well, but carry a huge liability for the local government (really the taxpayers), when something goes wrong, or at least if a judge/jury thinks it did.

    Then there is the fact that in most areas persons with a choice, would rather die than go to a charity or public hospital. It is these persons, often with decent if not generous insurance plans a hospital needs to attract to pay bills. What often happens with public hospitals is they mainly have a population of those either whom cannot pay, have inadequate insurance or rely totally on Medicare/Medicaid. Either way it usually leads to the place bleeding red ink. The recent closures of both Saint Vincent's and North General in Manhattan shows this.

    The other 900lb gorilla in the room is staffing. While some public hospitals due to their reputation (Bellevue in NYC for instance), may have an easier time attracting and retaining top quality medical and nursing staff, this is not always true for all. For reasons ranging from wages/benefits, clientele, location, and dare one say it, prejudices, many public hospitals have a very hard time finding and keeping good staff. While many new doctors and nurses may welcome a chance to train or at least spend some time at such a facility, most don't see themselves spending their careers there.
    rph3664 likes this.
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    Now I am really scared i live in Florida and was just told I have stage 1 endometrial cancer and I have no insurance . They are trying to see if a hospital will take me . I am 61 and overweight and scared I will not recieve the health care I need
    tewdles likes this.
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    I have had the unfortunate experience of working for a for profit hospital (Columbia HCA) in the past and I would never, ever do it again. Patients who are in the for profit hospital environment need to be scared.
    rph3664 and Jarnaes like this.
  11. 2
    Quote from greytRNtobe
    I think there are good points (more money into the infrastructure) and bad points (are medicine and/or nursing really like businesses? Are people widgits that we produce and repair?)
    Healthcare has been a business for a very long time.
    tewdles and azhiker96 like this.
  12. 2
    Last public hospital in PA closed in 1977....state distributes Medicaid monies to hospitals across state. Those with most non-paying customers receive extra $$$.
    herring_RN and azhiker96 like this.

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