Tri-county hospitals are ready to put the recession behind them as they look toward the brave new world of health care reform.
For the most part, reform means area hospitals will receive less for reimbursements but will have fewer uninsured patients coming through the system. “The net effect will be the reduction in charity care,” said Candace Markwith, chief executive officer of Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo.
Sierra Vista, owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp., is the 10th largest hospital in the Tri-Counties with almost 800 employees. It currently spends about $5 million a year on charity care and another $3 million on discounted care to the uninsured, Markwith said. By reducing that burden, health reform will therefore be “very positive” for the hospital.