Signs of the Affordable Care Act’s effects are slowly coming to light locally as was seen at Tuesday night’s Bradley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center meeting.
A renewal meeting for the center’s current health insurance revealed a 35 percent increase starting Jan. 1. Human Resources Director Sandy Brock pointed toward Obamacare as being the reason for insurance price hikes.
“We’ve asked some of our agents to go back to other insurance companies to get different quotes so we can think of something else we may need to go to,” Brock said. “There are a lot of changes going on ... and we would like to get a letter to our staff by Dec. 1 telling them what is going on.”
The letter will inform employees of the change and the new quotes. Employees will then have an opportunity to either choose the center’s insurance or go out on their own.
Brock predicted changes will soon be seen with other companies’ insurance in town. Some employees who have not previously taken insurance through the center have experienced a change of mind. A few have mentioned a change in their spouses’ insurance as the reason for the switch.
Board Chairman John Stanbery reminded Brock to let employees know the change in insurance is not due to the center’s actions.
“Please convey to employees the reason for this is not something we are doing, it is the federal government,” Stanbery said. “It is a result of Obamacare.”
Administrator Dennis Burtnett changed gears and gave the board something to smile about when he announced the new Medicaid rates.
According to Burtnett, the rates originally dropped in July by $9, from $158 to $149. This was a decrease on already low rates. Burtnett predicted for several months the extreme decrease should eventually increase in favor of the center’s needs.
He announced Tuesday night the rates have increased by $21 to reach $170. The annual effect of the rates is predicted to be around $1 million. Burtnett went on to say the rates could handle the annual depreciation.
“It is good,” Burtnett said. “I have never experienced that kind of an increase before, so I am thrilled.”
Stanbery added the center’s census is up by six residents over September’s count. Burtnett explained at least 16 of the residents are Medicare based.
Positive financial news continued as the center’s employee cafe profits were discussed.
“For two weeks we have been operating by just serving employee cafe food during the first shift,” Burtnett said. “It has worked great.”
Recent reports revealed the cafe was losing more money than it earned. The following changes were implemented: one cook was placed in the main kitchen to fill a void; the remaining cook only prepares food for first shift; second shift may eat in the cafe by ordering a to-go tray from the cafeteria; and the employee cafe is now open seven days a week.
It is predicted the cafe will at least break even, if not make a profit.
Work is continuing on Wing 4, which is now being used exclusively for rehabilitation patients. Three of the five rooms in need of completion have been remodeled. A spring open house to the public is being considered for the spring.