Friday, October 6

Electric City Medical News This Week Deserves Comment

While I know that the GF Blogosphere has been very busy with JP Harris' Foley-esque imbroglio, I have been thinking a great deal about a group of stories that appeared in the Wednesday and Thursday Tribunes.

Now, regular readers of this space (both of them) might remember that I have some considered opinions about how to solve the dispute between the Clinic and Benefis. Mostly, it involves sticking John Goodnow and Greg Hafgors into a small, windowless room, locking it, and not letting them out until they work out their problems with one another. But I digress ...

On Wednesday, the paper announced that Benefis has begun work on a $75.2 Million dollar, 7 story expansion of their East campus facility. This facility will convert every room in the hospital to private, add additional Labor and Delivery, Neonatal intensive care, cardiac services and pharmacy facilities to the hospital. I note that Benefis is able to do this work even under the financial burden they must bear under the provisions of their COPA agreement.

Buried next to the article trumpeting Benefis' expansion is an article about how Benefis is splitting from a 15-month partnership with a for-profit company that was to run cardiac services for the hospital. The amicable split seemed to revolve around the companies inability to bring additional cardiac surgeons to our city.

Hold the phone.

Benefis' argument as to why it can't work with the Clinic always seems to return to the canard that as a non-profit entity, it cannot reconcile its mission with a for-profit partnership like the Clinic. While making that argument, Benefis had entered into a contract that would have made this other for-profit company, MedCath, a 49% owner of Benefis' heart services program.

So why can't Benefis and the Clinic make an effort to enter into such an arrangement together? Half the doctors in our city are part of the Clinic; it seems to me that such an arrangement would be in everyone's best interest.

Of course, Thursday's paper announced that the Montana Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Clinic, allowing them to move forward and operate their Central Montana Surgical Hospital. No doubt that Benefis will now say that they cannot survive under the competition and must drastically raise rates. However, I doubt that they will miss a payment on their construction project.

Now, I know that throughout this post I seem down Benefis and up on the Clinic. This is not the case. The Clinic is just as at fault as is Benefis in the medical mess in this town. I also think it wonderful that Benefis can expand its services here. However, I am tired of seeing good doctors leave our town and I am tired of this never ending bickering. Bury the hatchet and go to work.

1 comment:

ZenPanda said...

Amen! Why can't they just get the job done & quit bitchin' & moanin'!