facebook-24x24

[Editor's Note: This article covers the questions and comments from community members at the Gila Regional state of the hospital event held May 9, 2018. To view an article on the hospital's presentation, visit http://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/44171-grmc-holds-state-of-the-hospital-meeting-050918

By Mary Alice Murphy

After Gila Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Taffy Arias opened up the Wednesday evening meeting to comments and questions from the public, a man asked why she had said earlier she did not want to talk about the past.

"This is a place to talk about the future," Arias said. "Come visit me in my office, and I'll talk about the past and I will find answers I don't know."

"We have to learn from the past, or we will be dead ducks," the same man said.

"We see mistakes from the past and try not to make the same ones," she agreed.

A woman asked questions about the hospital's website and said it showed it as having two-star quality instead of the four-star quality that has been mentioned. "Are you looking at Twitter and Facebook for the hospital?" she asked.

Doug Oakes, GRMC marketing director, said the hospital does have a Twitter account but is not using it right now. "We have several Facebook accounts, one for the hospital, one for recruitment and one for Beginning Years."

A woman asked if the hospital was in danger of going private. "That would be a disaster. We need our hospital."

Arias said it was up to the County Commission. "Their goal is to make sure we have health care for the future."

The same woman said she worried that quality would go down.

Another woman said: "In defense of not bringing up the past, the administrations of the past are no longer here. We have a new set of people going forward."

Lynda Aiman-Smith asked if the presentation would be on the hospital website. "It was hard to read. I saw process improvements, as well as the need for capital for equipment and infrastructure. What are the capital needs?"

Chief Financial Officer Richard Stokes said the administration has formulated a five-year capital budget, which would require about $2 million to $3 million a year. "I hear people say the building is old. Having worked in a lot of hospitals, some preventative maintenance may not have been done here. We have to do things to keep it up."

He said the Commission "has done us a service to push us to do things quickly."

Arias spoke to Commission Chairman Billy Billings and said: "I owe you an apology. I changed my mind. After we presented to the commissioners, I said we would be doing these things as quickly as we could, but I think it is you, the commissioners, who have pushed us to get things done."

Scott Terry asked: "I want to know why every time I go into the hospital, I get a new account number, and why can't I access my records through the hospital? When I do get a bill, it just has the amount. It doesn't give me an itemized list of what the charges are for. The services are good in the hospital. It's the service after you're in the hospital that isn't as good."

Arias told her own billing story. "My husband had a procedure at Gila Regional five months ago. We still haven't gotten a bill. I've tried to pay them, but they can't tell us how much we owe."

"We are learning from mistakes," Arias continued. "We are not putting out another $2 million for Meditech without help. And the billing issues? Richard and I are on them."

Terry said laws need to change in New Mexico, "to get you to play on an even field. You can't give incentives like Deming can, because it's different type of medical center."

"Richard is looking at all our services," Arias said, "as well as what we can do for our caregivers. And we want to get the bill out with information on it. Hold us accountable for our timelines."

Marianne Bray said she has had excellent care at Gila Regional and no problem with billing.

A woman asked why the presentation couldn't be seen online.

"It's not you the public," Arias replied. "We don't want competitors jumping on our initiatives before we do them. Our competitors want our business. We have to protect details as much as possible. We had to give the information to the commissioners, but letting the information out puts us at risk."

Tom Blanchard asked why, when a person goes to Gila Regional, he gets a bill from out of network services. "I'm trying for a law that if a person works in the hospital, his charges are covered by the hospital."

Arias said she would be interested in discussing the issue with Blanchard.

A man asked if critical access was decided or it is just an idea.

"It is one of our strategies, but we will have public meetings before we decide," Arias said. "It's really just a technical paper trail, but we are pursuing it."

Janet Wallet-Ortiz said: "It seems like you are in with the rest of us. I hope the County Commission doesn't let the hospital slide out from under us. It sounds like you have wonderful teams."

A man asked if everything talked about by the hospital would be "up in smoke" if the commissioners sell the hospital.

"Yes sir," Arias said. "As long as we're all here, we're working hard for you and to keep this hospital."

Mikki Jemin asked about the bills and the possibility of getting them from one state. "Currently, we're getting bills from Maine, Colorado and New Mexico. It's hard trying to keep count of every bill, and is every item a whole new account number? Any idea when things might get a little more consolidated?"

Arias said the hospital has several companies that contract with the hospital, such as the emergency room, radiology, hospitalists. Each does its own billing.

Stokes said that it is very common, even in larger hospitals, that some things are contracted out. "You should have one medical record number. I think what you are seeing is the visit number. Please talk to me about specifics."

A man said when he tries to pay his bill, he sees multiple accounts.

Stokes reiterated that he is available to answer specifics.

"We are all in this together," Arias said. "Together we sink or swim. We are always open to talk to you. This is a new group. We are asking for dialogue and ideas, so we can make things better for you. Tell us what is not working."

A woman said: "Talking about marketing and wanting service right away. Some physicians tell us to go out of town because it's cheaper. If prices are comparable, we will stay here."

Stokes said the hospital has just completed pricing studies. "The hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's hard for us to compete with, for instance, a free-standing radiology center that is open from 8 to 5, five days a week. The problem is when I call Blue Cross Blue Shield, if I tell them we are lowering our prices, they say: 'fine, we will reimburse you less.' We can't really afford to do that, but it's a fight we're taking on in the very near future."

Arias thanked everyone for coming, and asked them to please eat the food provided.

Live from Silver City

Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates

Welcome to Three Times Weekly Updates! You will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.
captcha 
You can unsubscribe anytime. We never share or rent your email to anyone.

Fire Alerts

Editor's Note

Welcome to our new version of classified ads.  We invite you our readers to post your own classifieds, which are available for viewing 24/7 and are very reasonable in price.

Because you are an esteemed member of The Grant County Beat readership, be assured that we at the Beat continue to do everything we can to be in full compliance with GDPR and pertinent US law, so that the information you have chosen to give to us cannot be compromised. 

The Grant County Beat endeavors to post to the Elections page, under News, at the least, notices of candidates for Grant County races. Some candidates for statewide races have also sent their notices. 

The Beat continues to bring you new columnists.Recent additions  include the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

The Beat totally appreciates its readers and subscribers!  

WARNING:

All articles and photos indicated by a byline are copyrighted to the author or photographer. You may not use any information found within the articles without asking permission AND giving attribution to the source. Photos can be requested and may incur a nominal fee for use personally or commercially.

Don't forget to tell advertisers that you saw their ad on the Beat.

Feel free to notify editor@grantcountybeat.com, if you notice any problems on the site. Your convenience is my desire for the Beat.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

If you subscribe to the Join GCB Three Times Weekly Updates option on the left side of this page, you will be subscribed to email notifications with links to recently posted articles.

Note: This is another component that is in progress of going to a different software to make it easier for you to use and find classifieds that interest you. Check Out Classifieds. And look at Sponsors to see who is helping the Beat.

It's really easy to check to see if there's a classified ad. Just click on Classifieds in the blue menu and the page will open letting you know if there is a classified ad. Remember that your buying classified ads gives you a wide readership, as well as supporting the Beat. Post YOURS for quick results!

Note that if an article does not have a byline, it was sent to the Beat and written by someone not affiliated with the Beat

When you click on the blue and orange button on the upper left side of most pages, you will find out how you can help the Beat defray its expenses, which, with increased readership, continue to grow. You will arrive at a page that gives you options of how you can Help the Beat. All help is greatly appreciated and keeps the news you want and need coming into your browser.

Consider the Beat your DAILY newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County. It's at your fingertips! One Click to Local News.

Thanks for your support for and your readership of Grant County's online news source—www.grantcountybeat.com