by Clayton Moore
Last Tuesday, February 18th was a very discouraging day for Eagle County’s Working Families.
Because folks in attendance at the Vail Hospital’s Annual “State of the Medical Center” luncheon heard very little about our Hospital’s efforts – to lower your family’s monthly Health Insurance cost – by lowering their costs for medical services at the Vail Hospital and the entire Vail Valley Medical Center.
Photo – Vail Hospital’s CEO (Doris Kirchner) and CFO (Charles Crevling) acknowledged (when asked) that Eagle County’s families pay the highest Health Insurance costs in the nation.
So where is our Hospitals main focus if not on trying to lower costs for the folks who live, work and raise their families in Eagle County?
In part – the leadership team spoke “proudly/glowingly” about their new (not online yet) Cardiac Cath Lab – that represents a new medical service that the Hospital can charge you for.
Photos of what a (general) Cardiac Cath Lab looks like can be seen by (Clicking Here)
To be fair – when the Q&A started at the end of their presentation…the Hospital did acknowledge some of their cost reduction efforts…however nothing so dramatic that it would result in you paying less for Health Insurance in Eagle County. They also acknowledged that families needing (non-emergency) health care services were opting to go elsewhere because of the costs at the Vail Hospital.
It’s not just the Vail Hospital – that is responsible for our Health Insurance costs.
As a result of Obamacare – the Colorado Insurance Commission established 11 rating Zones in our State (Click Here). The most notorious (for costs) of those Zones is Zone 11 the so called “resort zone” where we all live. Of course a family living in Denver (zone 3) would pay much less for their Health Insurance, regardless of the fact they may own property in Eagle County and might recreate here 52 weekends a year.
The ECT feels compelled to point out to EC voters – that your federal elected representatives that voted FOR Obamacare (Sen. Udall (D) Sen. Bennett (D) and Rep. Jared Polis (D) are now (as far as the ECT knows) doing NOTHING to try and reduce the costs of your Health Insurance. If ECT readers have documented evidence this is not the case, please contact the ECT with your documentation.
What other information did the leadership team at the Vail Valley Medical Center share?
– Hospital currently has 58 “licensed beds”
– they are a Level 3 Trauma Center
– they are a Level 2 Nursery Center (meaning they can birth and keep a child as young as (34) weeks under their qualified care)
– on average there are ~90 emergency Helicopter Flights a year from the Hospital
– 5 years ago…~17% of their patients where Medicare (>65 years old) today it’s 25%
– The ratio of what the Vail Hospital collects from the Insurance providers vs. what is invoiced? ~$0.65 collected on every dollar billed.
The ECT has plenty more to tell you about our Hospital and the Vail Valley Medical Center at large. Stand by.
Update from last weeks ECT story about “Competition for the Vail Hospital” – the new Mountain Family Health Centers (formerly know as Eagle Care) is affiliated with the Hospital and also receives funding from the Federal Government. A great deal of time there is focused on indigent patient care.