Our hospitals are facing the same financial woes. They rely heavily upon reimbursement from private health insurers and federal reimbursement programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Just like with state mandates in education, the insurers impose mandates on the health care industry.
As Congress debated how to avoid the fiscal cliff, two things were clear: Obamacare is here and will be costly to implement; and Medicare and Medicaid will be subject to reform. What that means to our healthcare providers isn’t certain, but it’s unlikely to be a boon to them or us. The local health care providers face another issue — recruitment and retention of doctors. Not only is there a lack of suitable housing in the area, there also is a lack of opportunity for spouses.
These are challenging economic times, and our elected leaders have a responsibility to make decisions based upon fact and not emotion. There will be times when those decisions won’t make everyone happy, but they must be for the long-term good of the community they represent. One of those is the decision about whether or not to privatize the Otsego Manor nursing home. It’s time to shift our focus from cutting to growing revenue. The “right” decisions will start us on the road to recovery, while the wrong decisions will force even more difficulties upon us in the future.
Mike Zagata is a member of Citizen Voices. The group can be reached at email@example.com.