Greater Regional Offers Free Vein Screening Clinic
For area residents experiencing leg discomfort, swelling and varicose veins, Greater Regional Medical Center will offer a free vein screening clinic on April 10th. The Greater Regional Vein Clinic is a service line being offered in coordination with Dr. Chris Downing and features state of the art vein care locally.
Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from venous disease, a condition which often results in varicose veins and other painful symptoms. These symptoms can significantly impact a person’s lifestyle. The Vein Clinic offers a minimally invasive alternative to traditional vein stripping for patients with superficial venous reflux, an underlying cause of varicose veins.
Greater Regional will be offering a free screening event on Wednesday, April 10th between the hours of 5:00-7:00 p.m. To learn more and to pre-register, please call 641-782-3828.
To schedule an appointment with the Vein Clinic, call 641-782-2131.
Medicaid Expansion Highlights Hospital Economic Impact
Greater Regional Medical Center Adds $46,375,517; 1207 Jobs to Local Economy
As Iowa lawmakers continue to debate expanding Iowa’s Medicaid program to cover more low-income residents, one aspect of the debate is the economic impact of expansion on both the state and its community hospitals.
“We can’t ignore the fact that Medicaid expansion would bring as much as $600 million a year to Iowa’s economy,” said Iowa Hospital Association President and CEO Kirk Norris. “That is a huge influx of dollars that would spread across the state. It’s not unlike a major business choosing to relocate to Iowa, but the impact is much broader and beneficial to far more Iowans.
“In terms of overall impact, there is no bigger economic issue in Iowa than Medicaid expansion.”
By insuring as many as 150,000 low-income Iowans, Medicaid expansion would also help alleviate the growing amount of charity care and bad debt among Iowa hospitals. In recent years, charity care and bad debt (also known together as uncompensated care) have grown 10 percent annually. In 2012, Iowa hospitals provided more than $1 billion in uncompensated care, primarily to uninsured patients.
“Uncompensated care will always be part of the hospital financial picture, but the growth we are seeing as more and more people find themselves unable to afford insurance is unsustainable,” said Norris. “It impacts the ability of hospitals to maintain services, modernize facilities and pay competitive wages. Medicaid expansion would make a real difference in this regard.”
Expansion will also help Iowa hospitals remain key drivers of Iowa’s economy.
Iowa community hospitals generate more than 133,000 jobs that add nearly $6.2 billion to the state’s economy, according to IHA’s latest Iowa hospital economic impact report. In addition, Iowa hospital employees by themselves spend $1.8 billion on retail sales and contribute nearly $106 million in state sales tax revenue.
“In most Iowa counties, hospitals are among the three or four largest employers, but it’s more than just providing jobs,” said Norris. “People are often unaware of the broader contribution that hospitals make to their local economies, the significance of hospital purchases with local businesses and the impact of their employees’ spending for the entire region.”
Greater Regional Medical Center generates 1207 jobs that add $46,375,517 to the region’s economy, according to the latest study by the Iowa Hospital Association. In addition, Greater Regional employees by themselves spend $13,253,305 on retail sales and contribute $795,199 in state sales tax revenue.
The IHA study examined the jobs, income, retail sales and sales tax produced by hospitals and the rest of the state’s health care sector. The study was compiled from hospital-submitted data on the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals and with software that other industries have used to determine their economic impact.
The study found that Iowa hospitals directly employ 71,169 people and create another 62,198 jobs outside the hospital sector. As an income source, hospitals provide more than $4 billion in salaries and benefits and generate another $2.2 billion through other jobs that depend on hospitals.
In all, Iowa’s health care sector, which includes employed clinicians, long-term care services and assisted living centers, pharmacies and other medical and health services, directly and indirectly provides 321,355 Iowa jobs, or more than one-fifth of the state’s total employment.
Complete information from the study, including economic impact data for each of Iowa’s hospitals, is available on the IHA website at www.ihaonline.org.
The Iowa Hospital Association is a voluntary membership organization representing hospital and health system interests to business, government and consumer audiences. All of Iowa’s 118 community hospitals are IHA members.
Greater Regional and IHA Support Medicaid Expansion
Greater Regional Medical Center and the Iowa Hospital Association support Medicaid expansion for the simple reason that insuring more Iowans is good for everyone, whether you provide health care, have your own insurance, own a business or just want Iowa to be a better and more prosperous place. People who are insured are more engaged with the health care system. People with insurance have a primary care physician, get routine care, keep up on their immunizations and medicines.
People who are uninsured find it difficult to do any of these things. They ignore health problems and delay care until they end up in an emergency room – the most expensive place there is to get health care. The problem, and the cost, is multiplied when an uninsured patient is dealing with a chronic health condition like diabetes, which is often the case. Their care is costly and anyone who is insured helps pay for it.
This is also an economic issue. Medicaid expansion will bring as much as $600 million to the Iowa economy. That is an economic infusion on par with landing a major corporation. Expansion money will flow from border to border, find its way to Main Street and create tax revenue for the state.
For those who say Iowa cannot afford to expand Medicaid – the fact is we cannot afford not to. First of all, 100 percent of the funding for the first three years comes from the federal government. After that, Iowa’s share will slowly ratchet up but never higher than 10 percent.
This is funding that already exists through the taxing provisions of the health care reform law and cuts to Medicare provider payments, including $2 billion in cuts to Iowa hospitals. Our hospitals agreed to those cuts with the expectation that under health care reform more people would become insured, leading to a decrease in uncompensated care, which now costs Iowa hospitals about $1 billion a year and is increasing 10 percent a year.
Ignoring this opportunity means millions of Iowa dollars will go elsewhere, that other states will benefit from Iowa’s sacrifices – while Iowans will get nothing. It also ignores the reality that these thousands of low-income Iowans are getting health care, but it is being provided in a very sporadic, inefficient and expensive manner that we all pay for – because they are uninsured and living on the fringes of the health care system.
We can change that through Medicaid expansion. We can help our neighbors, help our state and help ourselves. It is an opportunity we must not pass up.
Heart & Outreach Screening New Service at Greater Regional
Greater Regional Heart & Outreach Services offers a dedicated team of health care professionals. Our goal is to assist you in promoting personal wellness and disease prevention while providing you with the most comprehensive health screening services in the region. A variety of screening tests and immunizations are available to assist you in taking charge of your personal health at an affordable price. Please call 641-782-3545 or 641-782-3828 for more information.
Greater Regional Sports Medicine Program Making Strides
During the past year, Greater Regional Medical Center has been building its team of health care professionals to create a one-stop comprehensive sports medicine program for area athletes and weekend warriors experiencing sports injuries. Last summer, Chris Leonard, ATC, CSCS, athletic trainer joined Greater Regional Rehabilitation Services to grow athletic training services locally. Leonard’s athletic training experience includes Iowa State University football, men’s track and field, men’s hockey and Ames High School as well as Waco High School in Texas. He also worked as an athletic training intern for the Dallas Cowboys.
Last December, Damian Mizera, MD, a board certified orthopaedic surgeon joined the Greater Regional medical staff. Mizera a general orthopaedic surgeon with experience in bone and joint care specializes in adult joint replacement, knee and shoulder arthroscopy and fracture care.
This past August, Greater Regional announced William M. Ralston, DO, another board certified orthopaedic surgeon joined the Greater Regional medical staff. Ralston, a board certified general orthopaedic surgeon, joined the team with experience in bone and joint care. He specializes in adult joint replacement, knee and shoulder arthroscopy, fracture care and a full range of sports medicine. Dr. Ralston has provided sports medicine services for several high school athletic teams and as one of the team physicians for Western Carolina University, covering Division I football, basketball, track and soccer athletes.
Sports Medicine is a branch of medicine that includes a broad team of professionals working together to treat all aspects of injury related to sport, exercise or recreational activity. Athletic training encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and intervention of emergent, acute, and chronic medical conditions. Athletic trainers collaborate with physicians to optimize activity and sports participation.
“I’m very excited to be part of the growth of sports medicine services for our region,” said Chris Leonard. “I’ve been working with area coaches and athletes the past several months and I look forward to continuing to spread the word about the unique opportunity area athletes have to take advantage of these services at Greater Regional.”
When area athletes and weekend warriors experience a sports-related injury, Greater Regional Sports Medicine offers free evaluations. To learn more, please call 641-782-3618.
Greater Regional Medical Center Provides Community Benefit
$1,458,459 in Uncompensated Care and Health Care Services Given Annually
Greater Regional Medical Center provides $1,787,461 in community benefits to Union County and surrounding communities, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services. That amount, based on 2011 figures, includes $1,458,459 in uncompensated care and $329,002 in free or discounted community benefits that Greater Regional Medical Center specifically implemented to help Southwest and South Central Iowa residents.
Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care. Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.
The results for Greater Regional Medical Center are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2011 valued at more than $1.4 billion, including nearly $600 million in charity care. All 118 of Iowa’s community hospitals participated in the survey.
Monte Neitzel, CEO stated, “Greater Regional Medical Center is committed to being a regional provider of services. That commitment is shown by offering a broad array of services and programs that benefit everyone in our service area.”
The programs and services accounted for in the survey were implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions. Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, said IHA President and CEO Kirk Norris.
Charity Care and Bad Debt are rising. In 2011 bad debt increased from 4.78% to 5.38% representing nearly $500,000 in one year. The trend has continued and we are seeing a continuing increase this year.
Iowa hospitals continue implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of identified populations and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve. By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the Commonwealth Fund.
These efforts, along with IHA’s ongoing advocacy to create fairer payment methodologies from Medicare and Medicaid, help ensure the financial stability of hospitals, making it possible for them to provide the services and programs most needed by their communities.
Greater Regional Offers Vein Clinic
Greater Regional Medical Center has announced the opening of a new Vein Clinic. The Vein Clinic is a new service line being offered in coordination with Dr. Chris Downing and will enable vein care to be provided locally.
Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from venous disease, a condition which often results in varicose veins and other painful symptoms. These symptoms can have a significant effect on a person’s lifestyle. The VNUS Closure ® is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional vein stripping for patients with superficial venous reflux, an underlying cause of varicose veins. Greater Regional Vein Clinic will be offering this treatment for area patients suffering from the symptoms associated with varicose veins.
To learn more, the public is invited to attend an educational session on Tuesday, October 18th at 5:00 p.m. in the Medical Arts Plaza Conference Room or on Tuesday, November 1st at 5:00 p.m. in the Lenox Community Center. A light meal will be served at the educational sessions. In addition, an initial screening event will be held Tuesday, November 15th between the hours of 5:00-7:00 p.m. To pre-register for any of these events, please call 641-782-3828.
To schedule an appointment with the Vein Clinic, call 641-782-2131.