Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jim Melvin: "Cone and Alamance merger perfect match": How many jobs does Mr. Melvin want to cut?

"On Dec. 15, there was a very important marriage in our region.

Why is Jim Melvin for a healthcare merger
that could eliminate competition
and create a healthcare monopoly
that could raise prices at will?

This marriage put two great organizations together.

How many jobs will the merger eliminate?

Those organizations were Alamance Regional Hospital and Cone Health.

Will healthcare costs rise or fall because of the merger?

Individually, they are two of the finest health care organizations in our state, and together, with their combined resources, they give us a truly outstanding provider of health care for all of us in central North Carolina.

Will there be more or less competition?

This is a perfect marriage because the two organizations complement each other in so many positive ways.

How many jobs will the merger eliminate?

There is very little overlap in services, which means they can use resources to focus on the health care needs of the region.

Will prices be more transparent?

The marriage will provide the health care professionals in our community broader opportunities to work together and share the best practices and focus on enhancing the quality and depth of services they provide to us, their patients.

Will healthcare costs rise or fall?

A very positive part of this merger shores up our region and gives us opportunities to work together.

How would the merger "shore up" our region?

...In this changing world of health care, it assures us the best, most cost-effective care.

How so?

Is Jim on the board of one of the hospitals?

Will the merger increase or decrease competitivness?

Why is Jim an advocate of the merger?

We should congratulate the management and the boards of both organizations for their truly outstanding vision in causing this merger."

Jim Melvin
The writer is president, the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation.


Fec said...

OK, perhaps these are legit questions.

Can you take it the next step and find out?

I've found an urgent care that I like and they were recently bought by Cone Health. We saw it as a good thing. Duplication of admin services would be removed and we'd have better access and coordination with specialists. How is the Alamance merger different?

While we appreciate your vigilance on cost, money may not mean everything, considering things such as economy of scale.

I understand there is a perceived need to object to everything Jim Melvin says, but questions without facts don't even rise to the level of allegations.

Hartzman said...

Health Care costs keep going up.

Something is very wrong.

A bigger monopoly on pricing doesn't help.

I think the efficiencies Jim is talking about
may be undercut by higher Medicare billing levels
created by less competition.

Anonymous said...

Please check out the Charity Payment Policies of Cone Health and other area hospitals. Cone Health has a policy of reducing fees for those patients who are uninsured/self pay where their incomes fall between 125% - 200% above the Federal Poverty Guideline. If you are above the 200% level their only option is a 36 month payment interest free agreement, and God help you if the payment they require you to make is more than you can afford. There's also a 10% discount if you can pay your hospital bill within 15 days. Or they will take you to court and get a judgement which adds court costs, attorney fees and interest to your obligation. Forsyth Memorial's policy is a 100% write off for those with incomes up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Randolph Memorial offers a discount on a sliding scale to those with incomes up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Guideline. Wake Forest/Baptist, High Point Regional, and a lot of others also have much more liberal policies for uninsured patients than Cone Health. Its very eye opening to see the policy differences in other hospitals and compare them to Cone Health's policies. Cone Health is responsible for significantly higher health costs for certain segments of the population. Please check out the websites of these hospitals and others to confirm this information. Look at the policies of hospitals in the Triangle and you'll see similar polices. And why is there such a difference, between these facilities and Cone? You would think with Cone's size they would be able to offer similar discounts. But they don't! As Hartzman said "A bigger monopoly on pricing doesn't help". As to why Jim Melvin wrote his letter at this time? I'm sure he knows Cone Health CEO Tim Rice very well. They are probably on other boards together and attend events and socialize. And it doesn't hurt to have friends write letters of support when you're trying to convince the public that your latest take over is in their best interest.