Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Why is Steve Glover fighting to keep General Hospital open? Very disappointing.

Steve Glover, fighting to
Keep General Hospital Open

According to The Tennesseean, a bill has been filed by two metro council members to force the city to keep General Hospital open for at least a year and a half.  The sponsors are Erca Gilmore and Councilman Steve Glover.  Steve Glover! I am shocked.  I expected push back from the Black community and from some super liberals in the Council and am not surprised that a Black council member would introduce such legislation but fiscally responsible members of the Council should be rallying behind the mayor on this issue. Councilman Glover is thought of as one of the conservatives in the Council. He is a Republican. If Steve Glover would like to explain why he is taking this action, he is free to leave a comment.

Member of the Black community see Meharry General Hospital as a source of pride. Nashville General is the teaching hospital of Meharry Medical College. Meharry is the second largest educator of African-American medical doctors and dentists in the United States and has the highest percentage of African Americans graduating with Ph.Ds in the biomedical sciences in the country.  Meharry recently partnered with HCA to train at TriStar Southern Hills Medical Center, a hospital in HCA's TriStar Health subsidiary. Meharry's mission will not be jeopardizes by the closure of General.  Despite serving very little purpose for the city and despite there being no law requiring the city to operate such a hospital, no previous mayor has dared to antagonize the leadership of the Black community by proposing to close General Hospital.

In the last two years the Hospital has sought $26 million in emergency funding  in addition to a $35 million annual subsidy from the Metro Council.  As reported in The Tennessean recently, a recent audit found that the hospital, "failed at basic bookkeeping, unable to keep track of patient payments and major expenses."

While poor management is obviously a problem, the real problem with Nashville General is that  no one wants to go there.  Metro jail inmates without insurance needing hospitalization have no choice and are sent to General and there is a financial incentive for Metro employees to use General but it still cannot fill its beds. The facility is  licensed for 150 beds, staffed for 114 and has an average of 44 beds filled a day. Metro General should have been closed fifty years ago.  Ever since the advent of Medicaid there has been no need for a city charity hospital and the reason it has been kept open is purely political.

Finally, surprisingly,  a liberal mayor is showing the courage to close this money pit and instead of being cheered on and supported by a Republican in the Metro Council, she is being sabotaged.  I am very disappointing. If you see the mayor encourage her to stay the course. If you interact with your council members, please tell him or her to support the mayor on this issue.

For recent news regarding Nashville General, see the following.
The Tennessean, December 17, 2017: Future uncertain for Nashville General CEO amid mayor's plans to end inpatient care.
The Tennessean, December 15, 2017:  Hospital landscape in limbo as questions swirl over Nashville General's fate
The Tennessean, December 14, 2017: Audit: Nashville General plagued by financial mismanagement despite progress.
 
For previous reporting on Metro Nashville General issues covered in this blog, follow this link.  

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1 comment:

  1. I think that I heard Steve say on WPLN that his issue relates to his belief that the Mayor does not have authority to do what she has proposed to do. I am all for holding the Mayor absolutely accountable to the applicable rules. I have not spoken with Steve or read his bill yet, but I trust him not to act frivolously or in any way that is not conservative and fiscally responsible.

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