Broward County is the home of two of the nation's ten largest public health care systems:
The North Broward Hospital District dba Broward Health
Wednesday, May 20. 2015
In response to which, the scribes at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel have seriously twisted their panties across the top of today’s (5/20/2013) editorial page.
As is the case with most Sun-Sentinel editorial finger-shaking, today’s effort is mega-heavy on opinion and uber-lite on facts.
But then why let a few hard core numbers clutter 40-some inches of type?
However, for the record:
Wednesday, May 13. 2015
Another metaphor from health care hell....
Florida Governor Rick Scott has appointed another Commission to study the financial workings of the state's $200 billion hospital industry.
Only one person on the nine member Commission has a background in health: Dr. Jason S. Rosenberg, a Gainesvillle, FL plastic surgeon with a practice dedicated to women's breasts.
Chair of Governor's Hospital Commission is Carlos Beruff, a Manatee County developer who donated $100,000 to Scott's reelection campaign.
Other members include:
Ken Smith, an expert in beef cattle and owner/operator and only employee of Intregrated Beef Consultants.
Sarah Seevers, Mayor of Destin, (FL (pop.12,000-plus) and owner of Life's A Beach magazine.
Robert Spotswood, Key West lawyer and president of the Spotswood Companies specializing in time share and real estate developments.
Maianna Cancio, Miami attorney specializing in corporate and real estate law.
General Chip Diehl, retired following his post as Deputy Director for Engagement with the US Central Command during the Global War on Terrorism.
Tom Kuntz, former 'Geographic Banking Executive' with SunTrust..
The Governor rejected requests from several Florida lawmakers to serve on the Hospital Commission.
This is the second Commission the Governor has created to study Florida hospital issues during the past four years.
Which begs the obvious question:
Given this is Scott's final term as governor, will he be able to create a third Hospital Commission --- once his latest Commission has completed its task?
But remember your barf bag!
Tuesday, May 12. 2015
A major problem with "gettting a handle" on health care in America lies in the huge numbers the average citizen is forced to deal with.
In 1994, there were 204 hospitals in Florida which generated some $29.6 billion in gross patient care charges which resulted in a bottom line surplus of $654.4 million dollars.
Ten years later, in 2004, there were 179 hospitals in Florida generating some $88.3 billion in gross charges resulting in a bottom line surplus of $943.3 million dollars.
Then, in 2013, Florida had 177 hospitals which generated some $195.9 billion in gross charges that resulted in a bottom line surplus of $2.8 million dollars.
Trouble is, mega dollar amounts are as meaningless as Monopoly money for the average politician, journalist, or citizen.
Which is how and why the hospital industry (for its own use) has developed the adjusted admission and adjusted patient day to serve as baselines that make health care's mega dollars amounts more meaningful. (Note: an adjusted admission and/or adjusted patient day is created using an industry-wide formula that includes BOTH inpatient and outpatient hospital populations and visits.)
But as to what the average citizen (or health care consumer) can do about the above....?
I am reminded of a radio newscast years ago in which a man in the American heartland claimed he could change the colors and patterns in the Northern Lights by waving a bed sheet at the northern sky above his backyard.
Now you know why special interest groups like the Florida Hospital Association or the tax-funded North and South Broward Hospital Districts hide behind meaningless mega-numbers in their dealings with thought leaders, patients and the general public. JKdeG
Continue reading "Monopoly money"
Thursday, April 30. 2015
What - them worry?
Appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott as active member's of Broward's Republican party, the seven-member Board of Commissioners responsible for the governance of the North Broward Hospital District has no idea as to the meaning and purpose of the giant healthcare system's adjusted admissions and adjusted patient days.
Wednesday afternoon*, at their regular monthly meeting, the seven Board members expressed total ignorance as to the meaning, purpose and importance of adjusted admissions and adjusted patient days -- measurements which serve as standard baselines throughout the nation's .hospital industry. (April 29, 2015).
Thus, the governing Board of one of the nation's ten largest public health care systems was -- and still is -- totally incapable of grasping the critical importance revealed by the following:
* Source - North Broward Hospital District
Imagine if the directors of United Airlines never heard of passenger miles.
Or what if ATT's board didn't need to compare this year's operating margin to those for the past five years?
And suppose the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) was governed by seriously stupid governing Board of Director back when our current governor was earning a mega fortune as the CEO of his mega hospital creation.
The purpose of assigning values to an adjusted admission?
First, to reduces multi-million dollar sums to "everyday" amounts.
And second, to allow an average person to relate to - or understand -- what the hell the Broward Health's mega million dollar bean counters are doing.
Not that the District's CFO Bob "Mumbles" Martin would dare to dream of turning the complex into simple.
Because, transparency and accountability are to the North Broward Hospital District what sunlight and garlic are to a Vampire.
But stay tuned.
Because Governor Scott is preparing to create yet another Citizens' Cluster Group to ponder the imponderable mysteries of Florida's public hospitals. JKdeG
Thursday, April 16. 2015
There's damn little fair in the cost of hospital care.
Consider the "Persian Market" disparity in the average charge for a cancer patient at Broward's two largest public hospitals:
Broward Medical - $6,781
Memorial Regional - $12,599
Or the equally bewildering difference for the average orthopedic patient at the two tax supported hospitals:
Broward Medical - $6,601
Memorial Regional - $10,701
Memorial Regional is one of four hospitals operated by the tax-funded South Broward Hospital District (dba Memorial Healtthcare*) -- which has no competition from other hospitals in its market area. .
While Broward Medical is one of four hospitals operated by the tax-funded North Broward Hospital District (dba Broward Health) -- which competes with seven private hospitals in its market area.
Call it an example of Adam Smith 's Free Market economy at work.
To the disadvantage of hospital patients.
For a another example, compare the average charges generated by a visitor to the two hospital systems' Level One Emergency Departments (the only two in the County designated to serve Broward's most critically sick and injured).
As to why the local news media has failed to explore Broward's Persian Market hospital system?
"Too often, journalists are paid to explain things they don't understand," Bill Moyers
Tuesday, April 14. 2015
Two of the nation’s ten largest hospital systems
Monday, April 13. 2015
Nearly every hospital uses a programmed Chargemaster which establishes the amount patients are billed for various services.
In general, each Chargemaster is individually programmed so that the charges for the same procedure Hospital A will differ from those at Hospital B less than a half-mile away.
Adding to the disparity in the amount Medicare or Medicaid may reimburse for the same service provided by Hospital A versus Hospital B will differ dramatically – especially in the case of patients with privately-funded government health care insurance.
Your average patient has as much to say about the cost of his hospital stay as he does about the cost of the war in Iraq – especially when it comes to the “sticker price” for his stay versus the amount his insurance will pay. JKdeG
Tuesday, April 7. 2015
Why is this man smiling?
Frank Sacco – CEO – Memorial Healthcare
For seeming eons, Socialized Medicine has represented the forces of Evil in American medicine – with virtually every politician pledging to protect us from the Dark Side of Big Government.
However, when it comes to picking up the tab for health care in Florida, traditional private insurance covers less than 25 percent of the tab for hospital care. (1913)
What’s more, three of the nation’s ten largest public health care systems are located in South Florida:
Jackson Health in Miami Dade, Broward Health and Memorial Healthcare in Broward County.
Which suggests, at least in Broward County, government health care is already here.
There’s trend in the average “Sticker Price” (gross charges) for hospital patients in the past ten years – to say nothing of thee “Bottom Line” profits.:
*Does not include Plantation General, which for reasons unknown,
conjoined with Mercy Hospital In Miami Dade – further obscuring
the issue of accountability in Broward hospital care. JKdeG
Source – Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
Sunday, March 8. 2015
Broward County has been a national epicenter for HIV/AIDS since the disease first appeared more than
30 years ago.
In 2013, hospital charges for Florida HIV/AIDS care totaled more than $875.5 million.
However, the cost of an HIV/AIDS patients hospital stay rivals that of a Persian Market or worse.
For example, the average charges for an HIV/AIDS patient’s stay at Broward’s two major public hospitals is more Bagdad than Broward.
And as for the local media and community leaders….?
Source: Broward Regional Health Planning Council
Thursday, March 5. 2015
Thursday, March 5. 2015
Tuesday, March 3. 2015
Should a governmental agency engage in unfair competition with the private sector?
Suppose the State of Florida opened a chain of supermarkets in direct competition with Public or Winn Dixie?
That’s how it is with the South Broward Hospital District, a government-run chain of hospitals dba as Memorial Healthcare.
Source: Agency for Health Care Administration
Monday, March 2. 2015
Sunday, March 1. 2015
Sunday, March 1. 2015
What we have here is the average charge from a frantic trip to the Emergency Rooms at Broward County’s two major “safety net” public hospitals.
Because Hollywood’s Memorial Regional Medical Center is the flagship of a giant health care monopoly.
While Fort Lauderdale’s Broward Medical Center isn’t.
*CPT – “Moderate Severity” ER visit
Source: Broward Regional Health Planning Council
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Discoveries by an award-winning newsman
A former editor, investigative reporter, and teacher, John deGroot was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that covered Ohio’s Kent State Shootings in 1970. During his years as a print newsman, deGroot covered stories throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East. After retiring from journalism, deGroot served as policy analyst for Florida Attorney General Robert Butterworth. He lives South Florida with his wife Donna. email@example.com