Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Mercy Hospital board discusses single payer healthcare


November 15, 2018

Mercy Hospital CEO Mike Delfs spoke about the candidates in the upcoming election and his concerns about their promotions of changing the health insurance system at the meeting of the Mercy Hospital Board on Monday, Oct. 22.

“The insurance pools that we have had even out when people with very few medical issues pay and cover the costs of people that are really, really sick,” he said. “Candidates in both parties are presenting single payer systems in Minnesota. They want insurance coverage for all.

“If that happens, insurance rates for individuals will go through the roof. Then people won’t have insurance. A lot of that ends up as bad debt for the hospital, according to statistics from the Minnesota Hospital System.”

Delfs spoke about legislative laws and said it might be that a new law is passed that keeps health funds just for that purpose instead of the fund being tapped when there is shortage in another fund, such as for roads.

“The MHA is advocating for no sliding scale for hospitals,” he said. “We vary the tax so we remain funded. This is one of the sorriest election seasons for health care.”

Delfs said these changes may not happen but, in polls, everyone thinks that changes are needed in the health care system.

He also said that, if those changes are made, the burden of health care would be placed on a smaller number of people, similar to the tax situation in Moose Lake. Because of the large amount of tax-exempt property in the city, the tax burden is larger for the smaller number of taxpayers.

“Place that bill on a really small percentage of people and it looks huge,” he said.

In other business, the board passed a motion to combine the general savings and checking accounts at First National Bank to get a better interest rate.

Delfs and staff members in attendance gave a Leadership Rounding Update.

A staff person from each department has been asked for feedback in the past three months about how their department can be improved.

“I feel like the staff is really, really enjoying it,” said Delfs. “We catch them in their environment. I had thought that it would be best to talk to two or three at a time but I am finding that one-to-one is more effective. It’s interesting.”

Cards are given to the people and they can be handed to someone to thank them and recognize them for going above and beyond their duties, it was said.

That has also been working well.

The leadership rounding will continue. It was said that the second round is beginning. Another person in each department will be asked for their input.

The meeting was closed to discuss contract negotiations with the Minnesota Nurses Association.

The November board meeting will be on Monday, November 26.

Because the date of the December meeting falls on Christmas Eve, the board moved the meeting up to Monday, December 17, at 5:30 p.m.


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