“Nobody’s competing for the non-paying patients,” Stuenkel said. “We have got to create reasons for paying patients to want to come to Floyd.”
As a not-for-profit community based hospital, Stuenkel told the civic leaders that the hospital has to make its budget based on patients coming to the hospital, billing the patients and their insurance companies, then collecting and managing the revenue stream just like any other business.
Keeping a stream of patients flowing into Rome was the primary reason for Floyd’s interest in taking over management of the Polk Medical Center earlier this year, according to Stuenkel.
The FMC CEO said that half of the patients coming into Rome come from outside of Floyd County, and that Polk County is No. 2 on that list.
“What would happen if Polk Medical Center decided to affiliate with somebody else?” Stuenkel wondered. “What would happen to that flow of referrals? The winning proposer would want to redirect those patients to Atlanta or to another place.”
Stuenkel said he’s been questioned about the payment in lieu of taxes that will be made to Polk County associated with the Floyd takeover of the hospital in Cedartown.
“Floyd Medical Center is not paying the PILOT; it’s being paid by Polk Medical Center,” Stuenkel said. “Polk Medical Center has its own revenue sources, it’s going to have its own expenses, its own income statement, and out of that series of revenues they will make the PILOT payment. No revenues from Floyd Medical Center will be going to make the PILOT payment.”
As to why Floyd doesn’t make a similar PILOT to Floyd County, Stuenkel said, “A PILOT payment to Floyd County is really not logical in terms of the benefit and the burden that we have to carry in terms of indigent and charity and the other community benefits. That justifies our tax exemption and a PILOT is not in the cards for Floyd County.”
Looking into the future, Stuenkel said there is a whole litany of issues that face the health care industry.
If Congress can’t get together on budget cuts before the end of the year, that will lead to a process called sequestration.
“Two percent (cut) on a $30 million budget of Medicare expenditures for Floyd, that’s significant,” Stuenkel said.
He said that one of the notions on the table now involves the bundling of reimbursements. “You go in for a joint replacement, for example, we’re going to cut one check, give it to the hospital now, you and the doctors divide it, boy that’s going to change things,” he said.
He told the Exchange Club members that now that the Supreme Court has declared Medicaid expansion is optional and that Gov. Nathan Deal has indicated he’s not of a mind to expand the program, that the whole health care program “may be a house of cards in terms of the financial support.”
Stuenkel said that overall patient experience is vitally important to FMC.
“We’re about in the 80th-plus percentile in terms of patient satisfaction, top 20 percent in the nation, but we want to be in the top 10 percent,” Stuenkel. “If we’re bundling payments together we have got to work closer with our doctors to improve our quality.”