Rolla, N.D., letter: Denial of rate hike hurts health care in North Dakota
ROLLA, N.D. -- Health care in North Dakota is facing major hardships. It does not matter if you are an urban hospital, rural hospital, physician clinic or home health agency. Adequate reimbursement to cover the cost of providing care is not happe...
ROLLA, N.D. -- Health care in North Dakota is facing major hardships. It does not matter if you are an urban hospital, rural hospital, physician clinic or home health agency. Adequate reimbursement to cover the cost of providing care is not happening.
A recent survey conducted by a group of critical access (small rural) hospital administrators demonstrated that 22 out of 27 hospitals surveyed lost money in 2007. The average operating loss of those 22 facilities was 3.4 percent.
Unless something drastic happens to increase insurance and Medicaid payments, several of these facilities may not exist four years from now.
Against that backdrop, our group of five health care administrators is concerned with insurance commissioner Adam Hamm's recent decision to deny rate increases requested by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Dakota. While as a group of healthcare administrators we may not understand all the factors that go into making such a decision, we do know that based on this decision, the probability of a payment increase from Blue Cross Blue Shield is not likely.
Failure to be paid appropriately will impact all aspects of health care across the state. Like everyone else, we are facing increased cost in areas such as fuel, food, medical supplies and providing appropriate salaries for our employees.
With these increases in costs added to the already experienced operating loss, we are concerned about the financial viability of health care in North Dakota. We have some of the highest quality of care and receive some of the lowest reimbursement. What will happen to health care in North Dakota remains unknown.
To that end, we encourage Hamm to collaboratively work with Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota to identify adequate premium rates that provide appropriate payments for health care services that will let our hospitals and doctors to continue to exist.
The writers are, respectively, the administrators of Northwood Deaconess Health Center, Northwood, N.D.; St. Andrews Health Center, Bottineau, N.D.; Southwest Healthcare Services, Bowman, N.D.; McKenzie County Health System, Watford City, N.D.; and Presentation Medical Center, Rolla.