|Dr. Bogosian addresses|
For their monthly meeting on May 7th. the Fidalgo Democrats invited Dr. Charles Bogosian and Attorney Mary Kay Barbieri as guest speakers. As commissioner of Island Hospital Dr. Bogosian outlined the financial necessity and medical advantages of forming a partnership with larger hospitals in the region. Representing the concerns outlined by Healthcare Freedom Attorney Barbieri argued that the Catholic Hospitals, now in consideration for merger, have and will impose the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERD) of the Catholic Bishops on affiliated hospitals and clinics. GoSkagit Reporter Gina Cole provided an excellent summary of the proposed mergers for Island and other hospitals in the North Sound.
Dr. Bogosian told the audience that Island Hospital is financially stable, but warns that the Affordable Care Act requirement for electronic medical records and reduced medicare payments due to the sequester will reduce their profit margins currently at 3%. Because of these concerns the Hospital administration initiated the mergers. I suspect the desire for greater profits was also a lure.
Most Democrats support medicare but if Republicans continue to win Federal Elections, Medicare will be eroded and our local hospitals will be adversely impacted. That is not yet a done deal.
As for electronic medical record, one member of the Fidalgo Dems audience - Donna Davidson - asked if Island Hospital could turn to Group Health for help. No one present could answer that question. Hopefully an answer will eventually be found. Because I have Group Health insurance, my doctor and I have found Group Health's electronic medical records (which are available to us online) helpful and convenient.
I like many others (even some Catholics) would not like to be solely dependent on hospitals and clinics governed by the ERDs. The death last November of a young woman because the ERDs denied the termination of a miscarried pregnancy is a cautionary event. At the other end of life many of us would prefer Death with Dignity ( as guaranteed by WA state law) to having our estates dried up while we live on as unconscious vegetables. We would rather see the money spent on educating the younger generation and other worthy causes we supported while we were alive. This would be denied by the ERDs. Death with Dignity would also reduce the cost of medicare to tax payers, but it would mean less money for the pharmaceutical-medical industrial complex.
Hospital mergers could also mean monopoly pricing. I would like to know what the effects of a single payer system would have on hospital costs and mergers.