nvdaily.com link to home page

Traffic | Weather | Mobile Edition
      Archives | Subscribe | Special Sections

Local News arrow Affordable Care Act arrow Health arrow Josette Keelor arrow Winchester

| 1

CEO discusses complexity of U.S. health care

Mark Merrill (Buy photo)

Valley Health's community benefit report presented during semi-annual meeting

By Josette Keelor

WINCHESTER -- Valley Health Services CEO Mark Merrill touched on the new relationship with Inova Health System and the Affordable Health Care Act during the corporation's semi-annual luncheon Tuesday on the Winchester Medical Center campus.

Recognizing how rumors of Valley Health and Inova's relationship have fostered fear that Inova bought out Valley Health, Merrill assured listeners that the two will continue to function independently.

The two systems have formed an alliance, he said, with the goal of allowing both to benefit in the fields of information technology, managed care, population health, supply chain, clinical program development and research.

As part of its plans for next year, Valley Health intends to deploy Epic, a software system described at www.epic.com as helping mid-size and large medical groups, hospitals and integrated healthcare organizations.

Also during the meeting, Chris Rucker, president of Valley Regional Enterprises and vice president of Valley Health Ambulatory & Wellness Services, presented information on Valley Health's 2012 Community Benefit Report.

Valley Health conducts a community health needs assessment every three years, receiving input from business leaders, stakeholders, the educational sector and the general public to determine the key health issues affecting the community. That information identifies the community benefit and guides how Valley Health spends its money, time and resources in the community, Rucker said.

In 2012, Valley Health provided $76.9 million of community benefit based on IRS classification of deductible expense, a leap of 15 percent from 2011, according to the report. This includes $38.5 million in charity care and $26.2 million in Medicaid payment shortfall.

From 2009 to 2012, the community benefit was $247 million.

Speaking on what drives up health care costs, Merrill asked, "What's the one word that will save your life?"

"Stop." he said. "Or no?"

"Wrong site surgeries, wrong patient, wrong medication, incorrect dose -- significant challenges in terms of complexity that we [nationally] deal with," he said. "Very complex system to our health care, but again this is becoming more and more common."

Valley Health, like other systems, also deals increasingly with grocery store pharmacies that provide not only pills and flu shots but also infusions and other treatments.

"What we're seeing is a trend movement of volume to value," he said. It used to be, "the more you do the more you earn." Now the trick is, "Can we move from a volume-based health care system to a value based?" he said.

The good news, he said, is health care inflation is decreasing.

On the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Merrill cited the plan's goals: to increase coverage, reduce costs, improve quality and safety and to change our delivery system, but he said "It is incredibly complex."

It has an eight-year implementation and has unintended or unknown consequences, he said. States can vote on whether or not to expand Medicaid as a result, and Merrill said, "The Commonwealth of Virginia has today elected not to expand Medicaid."

Other concerns include possible security risks while signing up for coverage online and penalties for non-coverage, which so far are undetermined, he noted.

For anyone who isn't a health legislation expert, "It is an unbelievably complicated piece of legislature," Merrill said.

For more information about Valley Health Systems, visit www.valleyhealthlink.com.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com

Keep up to date on local news

Sign up here to receive Northern Virginia Daily news delivered to your email box each morning and when breaking news occurs.


Comments that are posted represent the opinion of the commenter and not the Northern Virginia Daily/nvdaily.com. View our comments/submisssions policy. Report abuse by clicking the X next to the comment.

Local News Sections

Affordable Care Act Agency on Aging Agriculture Alex Bridges Apple Blossom Festival Aviation Basye Berryville Boyce Breaking News Business Charities Civil War Clarification Clarke County Colleges Corrections Courthouse Notes: Permits, Transactions Courts & Legal News Crime & Public Safety Economy and Jobs Edinburg Education Edward N. Bell Election 2012 Election 2013 Entertainment Environment Fairs & Festivals Fire & Rescue Fishers Hill Fort Valley Frederick County Front Royal George Washington National Forest Guest Column Hard Times Health History Holidays Homes In The Spotlight Jeff Nations Joe Beck Josette Keelor Kim Walter Ledger Livestock Local Markets Maurertown Media Middletown Military & Veterans Moms Mount Jackson New Market Page County Pets & Animals Politics Progress 2013 Quicksburg Religion Rockingham County RSW Jail Ryan Cornell School News Shenandoah County Shenandoah Farms Volunteer Fire Department Star Tannery State Stephens City Steven A. Boyce Strasburg Toms Brook Traffic & Transportation Utilities Valley 911 Warren County Weather West Virginia Winchester Woodstock Year in Review

News | Sports | Business | Lifestyle | Obituaries | Opinion | Multimedia| Entertainment | Classifieds
Contact Us | NIE | Place a Classified | Privacy Policy | Comments/Submissions Policy | Subscribe

Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily | nvdaily.com | 152 N. Holliday St., Strasburg, Va. 22657 | (800) 296-5137

2013 Virginia Press Association Sweepstakes Winner
The Best Small Daily Newspaper in Virginia!

nvdaily.com | seeshenandoah.com