Annie Jamieson talks healthcare at UNH
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 00:10
Anne Jamieson, CEO of Portsmouth Regional Hospital (PRH), spoke at the University of New Hampshire on Thursday to provide insight into the healthcare system and its challenges.
“I wanted to give an understanding of healthcare delivery in the community, because healthcare is local,” Jamieson said.
The University of New Hampshire CEO Forum organizes and hosts events to provide opportunities for corporate officials to meet and exchange business ideas, according to the organization’s website. Barbara Draper, director of the CEO Forum, said that board members propose a list of speakers of interest, and Jamieson was high on that list.
“Our goal is to provide opportunities and outstanding networking for CEOs,” Draper said.
Dan Morrison, a member of the CEO Forum Advisory Board, was delighted to have a female speaker. “I like to see successful women,” he said.
Due to the density of Portsmouth’s population, Portsmouth Regional Hospital has the only 24/7 neurology program in the entire state of New Hampshire, other than Dartmouth.
“We get a lot of transfers for head accidents,” Jamieson said. “We have to take them, it’s unfair.”
Portsmouth Regional Hospital’s cardio program is also under a lot of stress, particularly around wintertime. The first snowstorm often brings in eight to 10 heart attack victims from shoveling alone.
“You have to be very calm,” Jamieson said, explaining the difficulty of surgery. “We have 90 minutes to get the artery open. Time is muscle.”
Fortunately, there is no shortage of nurses at PRH.
Like any business, Portsmouth Regional Hospital needs to have sufficient funds in order to stay open and running.
“Outsourcing is going to be a new thing,” Jamieson said. Portsmouth Regional utilizes as many outside companies as it can, including Sodexo, which is in charge of the hospital’s dietary management program.
According to Jamieson, the logistics of financially running a hospital go much deeper than the average patient would assume.
“Doing hospital laundry is a big deal,” she said. Sheets and linens must be washed at a much higher temperature than normal, and even this adds extra cost to the hospital’s budget.
According to Jamieson, translators are required employees of the hospital, particularly those proficient in sign language. This cuts into the hospital budget further, but is a necessary investment.
“The doctoral level that we’re hiring is the salary line,” Jamieson said. “The education setting is very high.”
Tom Moulton, CEO of SleepNet, expressed his frustration with the current healthcare standards in the U.S.
“People come from outside of the country for free operations and go home,” Moulton said.
He is concerned that hospital funding is being dispersed to procedures for foreigners, yet he feels it is difficult enough to cover the healthcare of American citizens.
“It’s a joke,” he said. “It’s ruining us. Ten people come in [for medical care], nine can’t pay, and the burden gets put on the one that can.”
Joshua Morris, CFO at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, said healthcare is driven by several factors.
“The cost of supplies and salaries are increasing,” he said. “Medicare reimbursements are going down, but expenses are still going up.”
According to Morris, one of the biggest hurdles hospitals come across is keeping up with technology. The technological advancements of hospitals evolve so rapidly that it is difficult for hospitals to afford this constant transition. This, along with inflation, is one of the largest contributors to hospital closures.
Jamieson, as CEO, strives to provide a better future for the current healthcare system, modeled after thriving systems in countries like Sweden.
“The problem is we’re not the best healthcare and we haven’t been in a while,” Jamieson said. “Our cost is high … We’re failing people. We’re not doing it the right way.”