Governor’s Visit

Governor Deval Patrick visits Cape Cod 

On Tuesday, February 22, 2011, Cape Cod Hospital hosted a roundtable discussion on health care. The event was called by Gov. Deval Patrick, to talk with local health care leaders and legislators about his recently released bill to address health care costs. About 20 people gathered in the Lorusso Board Room in the Mugar patient wing of the hospital for a give-and-take session with the governor and state Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Judy Bigby.

Among those around the table with governor from Cape Cod Healthcare were Cape Cod Healthcare President and CEO Mike Lauf, Chief Medical Officer for CCH Jim Butterick, MD; CCH Chief of Pediatrics Kate Rudman, MD; Medical Director for Physician Organizations and Managed Care Relations William Litterer, MD; Pediatrician Alex Heard, MD; Chief of Interventional Cardiology for CCHC Richard Zelman, MD; Hospitalist and Cape Cod Healthcare Chief of Medical Informatics Kevin Mulroy, DO; Psychiatrist Andrew Mann, MD; Emergency Medicine Physician Kevin Bresnahan; Vice President of Service Line Development and Government Relations Terri Ahern and Vice President of Finances Mike Connors.

Also among the group were Cape and Islands state Sen. Dan Wolf, state Rep. Sarah Peake, state Rep. Cleon Turner and State Rep. David Vieira. Also attending were Executive Director of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce Wendy Northcross, Healthcare For All Executive Director Amy Whitcomb Slemmer and Jordan Hospital Vice President of Operations James Fanale, MD.

The governor told the group that now that 98 percent of Massachusetts residents have some kind of insurance coverage, “we need to show we can crack the cost code.” He spoke in favor of moving away from the fee-for-service model of provider payments to paying for outcomes and encouraging providers to work together to coordinate more efficient patient care.

But, the governor acknowledged that “health care reform will not work without community hospitals,” and listened as health care officials and others explained their concerns about the governor’s proposals to cut costs. Runaway insurance premiums and an unfair burden on small businesses, who are seeing insurance premiums for their workers increase, in some cases, 20 percent each year, were two of the concerns expressed that afternoon. Lauf told the governor that with more than 60 percent of the hospitals’ revenue comes from government programs, and declining reimbursements, coupled with new insurance products incentivizing patients away from some hospitals, will be extremely detrimental to hospitals like Cape Cod Hospital.

Lauf explained that Cape Cod Healthcare’s annual cost increase over the last three years is just 1%, while we have continued to provide quality, world class care during that time.

But he also assured the governor that Cape Cod Healthcare will work with other health care organizations and the business community to come up with more ways to provide more efficient care.

In the end, Rep. Peake said it was imperative that hospitals like Cape Cod Hospital survive. She pointed out that the ambulance ride from Provincetown to Hyannis was the longest in the state.

“We need this hospital,” she told the governor.

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