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Future of Health Care Remains Uncertain, Hospital Officials Say

 

Parker
Tom Parker, President and CEO of Upper Valley Medical Center

PIQUA – Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the Affordable Care Act the future of health care remains uncertain, local health care officials said during a July 11 State of Health Care luncheon.

“We still don’t know what the ground rules are,” said Bryan Bucklew, President and CEO of the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association (GADAHA), during the luncheon coordinated by the Chambers of Commerce in Miami County.

The uncertainty prevails because more than 50 percent of the reform rules/regulations for the law, also known as Obamacare, have not been written, Bucklew said.

Between now and 2014, when the new law goes into effect, people will experience higher health care costs and issues accessing care, Bucklew said.

State Rep. Richard Adams, R-Troy, said the Ohio General Assembly, like most individuals who don’t have enough information to make a decision, will wait before deciding exactly how to provide health insurance required under the law.

Today, 39 cents out of every $1 in sales and income taxes in the state goes to pay for Medicaid for more than 1 million adults and children, he said. That amount will only continue to grow, he said.

“Until we get all of the information we need, we aren’t going to do anything in spite of lot of pressure from some to do at least something,” Adams said.

Tom Parker, President and CEO of Upper Valley Medical Center, said more focus will be on creating healthier workforces and keeping people out of the hospital.  Reform, he said, “will put a screeching stop to the old ways.”

As an example of focusing on healthier workforces, Parker pointed to the city of Piqua’s plans for an in-house wellness clinic for employees.

Piqua City Manager Gary Huff, said a similar program used in Indiana, where he previously worked, saved $700,000 in health care costs a year for the city. The idea is “to move beyond penalties for employee health issues to something that works,” Huff said.

Even with all the changes in health care and on the horizon, Upper Valley Medical Center continues to be a busy place, Parker said. He noted the hospital had a record number of both emergency department visits and hospital admissions in 2011.

The hospital is working closely with other providers to help divert people, when possible, from expensive emergency department treatment, Parker said.

UVMC has joined forces with Miami County Health Partners, Hospice of Miami County and the newest, Miami County Dental Clinic. The number of people seeking care at the emergency department for chronic dental problems pointed to the growing need to open up access for local residents to dental services, Parker said.