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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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BAMC To Decide In Six Months: Build New Hospital Or Remodel?

Either major remodeling or an entirely new facility is in the near future for Bay Area Medical Center, BAMC President and CEO Ed Harding told Marinette County Board on Tuesday, July 29. At the very least there will be an entirely new Emergency Care Unit, Harding said.

He said if the decision is to do the renovations, cost will be $60 to $75 million. Building new will cost more. Either way, the ER Center will be entirely new, with construction planned to not disrupt services in the existing ER while the new one is being built. The ER averages over 21,000 visits a year.

He said BAMC has been saving up for the new or renovated facilities, and are very close to reaching their goal, dollar wise.

Harding noted the last time he came before the board was when ties between the county and BAMC were officially severed, “...but I am pleased to continue reporting to you annually on the health of our organization.”

“We are very close to completing the partnership agreement with Aurora,” Harding added, but stressed, “We are your medical center!”

In six months the hospital board will have a recommendation on whether they should build or renovate on the existing site. He noted part of the existing facility was constructed in 1939, a new building could result in significant savings in heating and other energy costs.

The hospital has 600 employees and a $60 million a year payroll.

A recent new addition is a Wound Care Clinic that was established to handle a local needs for effective treatment of slow-healing wounds, for example on persons with diabetes.

Two new anesthesiologists will be joining the staff on Friday, Aug. 18, and Dr. Youssef will be the new hospitalist.

In 2014 focus has been on facilities, provider recruitment (to full potential gaps in service), service enhancement, contract negotiations with major players in the health care insurance field, and a Community Needs Assessment, which is a requirement of the Affordable Health Care Act.

The BAMC purpose, Harding said, “is to provide compassionate, cost effective, quality health care for all.”

Stressing the “all,” portion of that statement, Harding said the hospital sees an $8,011,000 loss as the difference between charges for Medicare/Medicaid patients and the amounts those programs pay, plus bad debts of $6.5 million (which grew again in 2013), and $2.3 million in outright charity care for which they do not expect reimbursement. He said even people who owe past-due bills will get the care they need at BAMC.

He said they generally collect about five cents on the dollar from self-pay patients, so they can be extremely busy but still see a drop in income.

Harding emphasized that people need to not ignore enrolling in the insurance exchanges. The hospital has helped people sign up and found that lots of them had problems. Many have no e-mail and they were allowed to use the BAMC e-mail and were given assistance and advice on signing up.

In addition, the hospital provided over 1,000 health care screenings and BAMC employees are expected to volunteer some of their off-duty hours working for community services of their choice, and last year they volunteered 2,500 hours of service. In addition, the hospital will match whatever dollars an employee contributes to their choice of charities.

Inpatient admissions used to be the largest portion of the hospital’s business. That has changed. Last year there were 1,500 patients admitted, very close to the high of 1,700 in recent years. They budgeted for treating 17,000 outpatients and came in five percent below that, at 15,000. Daily revenue averaged $263,000, slightly below the $308,000 anticipated in the budget.

There were 132 births at BAMC in 2013.

Supervisor Ken Keller of Marinette asked about the status of the Bellin Heart Clinic, and Harding said it may stay where it is, but the facilities task force will look at the overall Vascular Center.

Current trustees are Mary Gatzke, DNP, Marc Jamo, Charles Kalhoefer, Jim Koronkiewicz, Tim Rennes, Bob Sorenson, William Mallory, M.D. (secretary/treasurer), Pat Krah, vice chair, and Tony Furton, chair. Roughly half the trustees are from Marinette County and half from Menominee County. Josh Riebe, MD and Richard Stein, MD serve as as ex officio trustees. Stein is president of the BAMC Medical Staff Executive Committee and Riebe is president elect. There is currently one vacancy on the Board of Directors.


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