Rotary hears from Memorial Hospital CEO

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Jim Lambert, new CEO of Memorial Hospital and Manor, gave a presentation at Rotary this week on the status of the local hospital.

He began with what he has observed in his short time as the positives, or hopes for the future. They include a dedicated staff of employees, a strong quality clinical and medical staff, a willingness of people to change, a medical staff open and willing to support and a strong commitment from both the county and the city.

To stress how much the community needs the hospital, he lists it as a strong financial asset with annual salaries, of $25 to $30 million dollars that make an impact.

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He then addressed what he called opportunities. He would like to see an improvement in the pay and staffing, improve the revenue cycle, develop a sense of urgency and accountability toward goals, improve the focus on financial operations and budget targets, improve the community’s perception by addressing issues and concerns and getting the positive messages out.

He invites public input, saying, “We can’t fix what we don’t know.” Everyone talks about the billing problems, he acknowledges. “Billing is a very complex issue, but we need to address that right away.”

He invited people with billing problems to bring them to the attention of the hospital so they can be addressed.

Several charts related to hospital finances across the country were shown. Since the year 2010, they have seen Medicare cuts of $8.9 million dollars, while Medicaid cuts were $3.4 million. From 2010 to 2026, Memorial Hospital and Manor will see $26,641,000 in cuts from those programs. This is a problem he believes must be dealt with by the state government.

The hospital has the chance to win back the money withheld from Medicare and Medicaide payments by achieving high quality reports and community feedback.

He then sited the fact that Memorial Hospital and Manor rated in the top 5 percent of all hospitals in the country for satisfaction in the treating and care of Medicare patients. In 2017 they received the 2 percent held back, plus $33,000 more.

“Quality and patient satisfaction pays,” he said, then went on to cite figures that the hospital has a very low infection rate, below the state averages.

Lambert introduced his own personal vision. “We will be recognized as one of the best rural hospitals in the nation, known for providing quality and compassionate care and for our innovation.”

To achieve these he stresses the need to focus, set goals and work together. The community can help by choosing to use the local hospital, for treatment, rather than going out of town.

They must let the hospital know when there are issues and by supporting financially through the Georgia HEART tax credit, which allows up to a 90 percent donation of state taxes to Memorial Hospital.

Lambert’s goal is to raise $2 million this year and he believes HEART will be a tremendous asset to achieving that goal.