"If the trumpet give an uncertain sound,
who shall prepare himself to the battle?"
Last Friday I attended the annual Legislators’ Breakfast at New London Hospital in The Helm Conference Room of the Medical Affiliates Building at the hospital. I was pleased to attend with other House Members and one Senator from the local area to get a "State of the Hospital" report (my title for it, not theirs) on what is happening at our local critical care hospital.
One of the impressions received was that uncertainty is the hallmark of the day in our major economic sectors, both locally and nationally. We all know about the uncertainty of our economy with high unemployment, low housing sales, financial unrest and European financial chaos. But most do not consider that these uncertainties are filtering down to the health care industry with the great unknowns emanating from the Affordable Health Care Act, better known as "Obamacare", which will be coming online over the next few years unless repealed or severely amended. We are all caught in this morass of uncertainty in many aspects of our lives. Thus we plod along, hoping for some resolution and assurance of our future.
New London Hospital, however, is doing well making the adjustments necessary to move through this dilemma. While not laying off staff, they are taking a hard look at replacing those who leave and some future plans have been put on back-burner. They were fortunate not to have been impacted with the legislature’s cuts applied to the major hospitals in the state and New London Hospital’s relationship with Dartmouth Hospital has had negligible adverse impact locally.
We met with senior staff and board members and had enlightening discussions on a number of issues. We were joined by senior members of the New Hampshire Hospital Association who were able to give us insights on many of the issues discussed. We were given a list of legislative initiatives which would impact on the hospitals along with their recommendations for or against the bills. But individual bills were not discussed.
Instead, discussions were held on a variety of subjects such as healthcare savings accounts (which have been initiated at New London Hospital), the unique existence of a skilled nursing facility on the premises (the Clough Center) and the advantages that brings to the patient, the possible creation by the state of a health care exchange, the unsustainable reimbursement of Medicaid and the uninsured, etc.
After listening to legislative hearings over the past five weeks, it was an absolute pleasure to hear discussions on so many different subjects and get so much information in a very short hour and a half meeting. I applaud President and CEO Bruce King, his staff, and all of the participants for the conduct of the meeting and the concise, crisp flow of the proceedings.
We are all lucky to have such a well run and professional health care organization in our midst. It doesn’t occur by accident. It takes talent, drive and professionalism to make it happen.
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Contact: ken.s+sunacom.com (replace "+" with "@")