The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Health and Wellness 2011

February 19, 2011

Local hospitals watch reform

ENID — Health care reform has been a hot-button topic for individuals as well as businesses ever since major federal legislation was passed last year.

The situation is no different in Enid, as personnel with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center are examining carefully how legislation will have an impact in coming years.

One of the most sweeping changes that will happen as a result of the legislation is about 32 million people who didn’t have health coverage before will now have access.

Those 32 million will be eligible for certain benefits from insurance exchanges set up in every state, said Stanley Tatum, chief executive officer of St. Mary’s.

“These exchanges will have a core set of benefits they will cover under an insurance plan,” he said.

The benefits will be for those who have certain illnesses or other ailments.

Each hospital will be reimbursed a certain amount for treating a patient who has an illness covered by the insurance exchange.

What that amount will be is yet to be determined, Tatum said.

But Tatum and Bass President Jeff Tarrant both agree the real effects of health care reform won’t be felt for a while.

“I believe it’s calendar year 2016 or 2017 before really all aspects (of health care reform) have been phased,” Tarrant said.

According to a presentation prepared by Tatum, a short-term effect of health care reform is an increase in insurance premiums due to rising medical costs and adverse selection.

There also will be pressure on some small businesses to provide health care coverage for employees.

Individuals, employers, drug companies and a number of other agencies will be subject to a variety of taxes and penalties as part of the reform, Tatum said.

However, if you are a small business that has less than 50 employees, you are exempt from any penalties.

Despite widespread negativity about health care reform, Tarrant and Tatum both agree there are some positive aspects.

Tarrant said one of the positives is the more widespread use of health care technology.

“There is language in the legislation that encourages use of electronic health information,” Tarrant said. “The reason in there is the government believes (that it will) promote safety and reduce cost over time.”

Tatum said one good aspect of health care reform is people with pre-existing conditions will now be allowed medical coverage as part of a temporary, high-risk pool.

“That is a good thing I think,” Tatum said.

According to Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, health care reform mandates residents who don’t have health coverage must pay a tax penalty of the greater of $695 per year up to a maximum three times that amount per family, or 2.5 percent of household income.

The penalty will be phased in, beginning in 2014.

The law also creates a temporary reinsurance program for employers providing health insurance coverage to retirees older than age 55 who are not eligible for Medicare. The program will reimburse employers or insurers for 80 percent of retiree claims between $15,000 and $90,000.

One other thing that will affect the hospitals is the cost of medical supplies will increase, Tatum said.

In 2013, businesses will have imposed on them a 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of any medical device.

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Health and Wellness 2011
  • Cover.jpg Health and Wellness 2011

    One of the attributes of living in Enid and Northwest Oklahoma is the abundant pride residents have in its people, land and businesses. The 2011 News & Eagle Progress edition highlights these areas and pays tribute to all of those who make our region shine 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Jeff_Tarrant_Mug_BV.jpg Local hospitals watch reform

    Personnel with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and Integris Bass Baptist Health Center are examining carefully how major federal health care legislation will have an impact in coming years.

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • Integris_Heart_1_BH.jpg Their heart’s in health care

    Construction for the 16,000-square-foot Integris Heart and Vascular Institute of Northwest Oklahoma, across from the hospital’s main campus at 600 S. Monroe, has been ongoing since last year, and hospital personnel are getting anxious to open the building for patients. The center is slated to open in March.

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • StMarys_2_BV.jpg Don’t want to keep them waiting

    "They don’t come here to be registered. They come here to have their blood drawn or whatever.” — Steven Moore, financial liaison, St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos

  • gym_TRX_1_BH.jpg Brand new TRX

    TRX is a portable leveraged bodyweight machine that allows clients to do hundreds of exercises to build power, strength, flexibility, balance and mobility and prevent injuries.

    February 19, 2011 3 Photos

  • School_Nurse_BH.jpg Times are changing

    "It isn’t Band-Aids and boo-boos. It’s a lot more comprehensive than I imagined.” — Joanie McIntyre, school nurse, Enid Public Schools

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Hospices.jpg Giving up? They’re just getting started

    "People think hospice is giving up, but that isn’t what it is." — Kristi Browne, Ross Health Care

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • GraceCareCompanionServices_BV.jpg There’s no place like home

    The home health field is a way for a number of patients to receive the care they need while staying home.

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • YFS_Buckley_Randolph_BH.jpg Forming a mental picture

    Osborne said one of the most important things someone can learn in counseling is how to make the right choices — decisions “that will benefit themselves and their families” — in any situation.

    February 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Y_Cardio_2_BH.jpg Fitting right in

    Kim Boeckman, senior program director at Denny Price Family YMCA, said a good cardiovascular workout can improve overall health.

    February 19, 2011 2 Photos