Letters to the Editor

Letter: Put burden on doctors

A brief observation on the recent article indicating Beaufort Memorial Hospital will be experiencing a $950,000 loss in Medicare reimbursement due to high readmission rates with the fines to begin in October. To begin, please understand that I have no affiliation or relationship with the hospital and, in fact, have never experienced any of its services.

That said, it is important that the citizens of Beaufort County understand certain aspects of the issue that the article failed to point out. Namely, hospitals do not admit, discharge, readmit or re-discharge patients to or from the hospital.

Only physicians with admitting privileges to Beaufort Memorial are allowed to do so.

In effect, the hospital has been financially penalized for the conduct and actions (or inactions) of its medical staff, due in large part because Medicare has not devised a proven methodology to review individual physician practice patterns and hold them financially accountable, plus it is simply easier to go after the hospital.

The hospital is then placed in the role of policeman with the physician having little or no financial impact. Almost all hospitals face the burden of a few arrogant and complacent and/or marginally competent physicians who do not play by the rules or follow medical staff/hospital guidelines to ensure proper patient care. The competent physicians know the weak players and must be willing to work with the hospital to ensure appropriate action necessary or the hospital will continue to experience similar funding reductions in the future.

Michael Garrigan

Hilton Head Island