Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mayor Megan Barry announces plan to end Nashville General inpatient care,

Metro General Hospital
Mayor Barry had announced plans to end Metro General Hospital as a hospital. This is a major step in the right direction and long overdue. Metro General has been a money pit unable to live on the money the city appropriates and unable to fill its beds. On average,only about a third of the beds at General are filled.  Ever since the advent of medicaid most poor people have been able to go to the hospital of their choice.  They do not have to go to General and they don't.

The city, in addition to the subsidy, tried to prop up General by making it the hospital where jail inmates are taken when they need care and by giving a discount to Metro employees who use the hospital. The hospital simply could not attract enough customers to be viable.

This move by Mayor Barry should have been taken about twenty-five years ago. There is no law or charter requirement that metro maintain a hospital yet no administration would look at getting out of the hospital business. General has a vocal constituency in the Black community. General is also the teaching hospital for Meharry Medical College and a source of pride and prestige in the Black community.

As reported in The Tennessean, Mayor Barry said her administration would submit to the Metro Council a “substantial request” for funds to stabilize the facility until the end of the fiscal year which ends June 30th.  She said her focus would be on efforts on transforming the facility into an ambulatory surgical care center, which would provide only outpatient services. She also says she intends to pursue the creation of an indigent care fund to pay for hospitalization costs for low-income Nashvillians at the privately run hospitals in the city.

I commend Mayor Barry for taking this long overdue move. I expect there will be a howl of protest and push-back. To read The Tennessean story see, Nashville General to end inpatient care, Mayor Megan Barry announces.

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