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Reimbursement changes coming to local health care

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Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:00 am

Major reimbursement changes are finally coming to a local health care organization and payer near you.

I agree that the public is finally becoming aware of what Bruce Schweigerdt referred to as the health care cost fiasco ("Hospitals are enabling the 'charge' versus 'cost' game," Aug. 9). Excessive health care spending continues to overwhelm America's economy. However, I would caution using Medicost.org data as an example.

The website compares every California hospital that they could find — 260 in all. Their scale compares hospital cost per dollar with the highest at No. 1 (90 cents) to the lowest at No. 260 (10 cents). Lodi Memorial Hospital is ranked number 246. I choose to look at the LMH score as being roughly in the bottom third. This is great news when compared to other acute care organizations in the state.

Unraveling the complexity of health care provider charges and payments is extremely difficult. The real concerns should be the quality of care provided and the verifiable source by which it is measured. A nationwide database is available to us. It is called Hospital Compare (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov). Granted, this is a government database. LMH ranks ahead of or on-par with St. Joseph's and Kaiser. Clarification: LMH is a "nonprofit" corporation. Nonprofit corporations conduct business for the benefit of the general public without shareholders and without a profit motive.

I consider LMH our community health care resource. As health care reform plays out, I want to receive high quality health care provided locally versus having to go to Stockton, Manteca or Sacramento.

We might consider supporting our unique resource whose goal is to create superior health care delivery opportunities to enrich Lodi.

Health care reform, like it or not, is changing care delivery and reimbursement of health care services. If we are to continue enjoying the luxury of having a local acute care and emergency care provider, it will be up to us to engage and become part of the solution.

J. Mark Hamilton


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