I have been troubled with some of the information regarding Lewis County General Hospital. Let me say that my wife and I have used this facility many times over the years. We have been in-patients, outpatients and patients in intensive care. We have had several surgeries done by very competent surgeons such as Dr. Daniel Ellison and Dr. James Stillerman. LCGH is also blessed by a top-notch team of anesthesiologists headed by Dr. Robert Martinucci. We have been privileged to be patients of very caring family practitioners such as Dr. Shirley Tuttle-Malone and Dr. Thomas Birk. The nurses and staff of this hospital truly live up to the motto, We treat you like family. LCGH is a real gem and provides wonderful care for the residents.
I know that they are having financial difficulties. A major contributing factor is the delayed scheduled payments from the federal government and the state. The federal and state governments program to improve on their financial picture without regard to the consequences imposed on the local institutions is beyond contempt. I prefer that our hospital remains as it is, a vital part of the structure of Lewis County. I have been a patient in private hospitals operating with a for-profit motive and the care was no match for what Lewis County General offers. It can also be argued that the reimbursement to the hospital from Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance plans is not adequate.
This is undoubtedly true. But as I study my Medicare statements, I notice bills submitted to Medicare of, say, $1,000. Medicare has set its reimbursement amount at, say, $500. Medicare will pay 80 percent of this figure, or $400. My private insurance would pick up the remaining $100 or 20 percent. The hospitals know what they will be reimbursed. I can see no reason to submit bills for which there is no chance of receiving full payment. All this contributes to an overabundance of unnecessary paperwork which does little to alter or improve patient care or efficiency of operation. There is much waste and inefficiency at all health-care providers and much, but not all, of this can be attributed to government mandates.
I am deeply concerned with the delays to the dialysis lab construction at the hospital. I have personal knowledge of the many local residents who must travel to Watertown three days a week in all weather conditions for hemodialysis.
Local residents on dialysis cannot do overnight stays in our hospital, nor could the elderly live in our nursing home because we cant provide for their dialysis. The dialysis project must move ahead with all speed.
Dr. Joseph O. Perry