Originally published December 29 2014
Obamacare causing massive wave of hospital closures across USA
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) A number of acute-care hospitals closed across the United States last year -- 18 to be exact -- and experts who see a raft of new regulatory processes being heaped upon the healthcare industry in the coming years, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, believe that a wave of additional closures are ahead.
As noted by WorldNetDaily, a dozen more hospitals have closed in the U.S. so far this year in rural areas alone; more are getting ready to be shuttered. But Dr. Lee Hieb, M.D., says this is just the beginning.
"Events happening now give us some idea of what medicine will be reduced to in the future," she wrote in her upcoming book, Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare, which is being published by WND Books.
"Today, all over America, small and midsize hospitals as well as hospitals in inner-city, poor areas are closing," Hieb, an orthopedic surgeon and past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, wrote.
The cascade of closures has begunCritics of the president's signature health "reform" law have long complained that it would fundamentally change American healthcare delivery -- from insurance to the doctor's office and everything in between. Hieb, in her book, suggests that the number of hospitals around the country will be dramatically reduced either because they cannot afford the implementation costs of all of Obamacare's 2,400-plus pages of regulations or because the law's higher out-of-pocket expenses for the insured will lead them to seek less care.
As WND notes:
She said the reasons for the closures aren't complicated. Most of the victims are smaller hospitals or those in poor areas, which often serve the greatest number of Medicare and Medicaid patients.
A recent report at Modern Health Care, a healthcare business news site, confirmed that just among critical access hospitals -- those with 25 beds or less -- there were 14 closures in 10 states in 2013.
Georgia's four closings last year were nothing new, according to Jimmy Lewis, CEO of HomeTown Health, an organization of rural hospitals in Georgia. "We have no clue how to stop it, it's so far gone," he told Modern Health Care.
What's more, Hieb noted, the rates that federal agencies pay out when reimbursing medical facilities and patients are not keeping pace with the growth of healthcare costs (another broken Obamacare promise).
She says that "whereas private insurance might pay the surgeon $4,500 for a spinal surgery (my specialty), Medicare paid less than $1,200."
Regulations, under-payments to blameAlso, Hieb says the federal government -- the country's largest consumer of healthcare services, bar none -- simply refuses to reimburse hospitals for certain services, with bureaucrats deeming them "not medically necessary," no matter what doctors and patients say.
"The result is predictable: economic failure of hospitals and physician practices that have become dependent on government payment for large segments of their population," Hieb wrote. "The hospitals and offices that will close are those with the least private insurance."
One of the cases she cites is that of Temple Community Hospital in Los Angeles; it closed Sept. 9. Among the various reasons given by the facility for its demise were "low reimbursement rates" and "regulatory requirements."
Another facility that closed its doors recently was Vidant Pungo Hospital, located in Belhaven, North Carolina; it shuttered July 1, the only hospital in a small, economically depressed rural farming town.
In that instance, the hospital's closure left local doctors wondering how their patients will get access to timely care, considering the long distances to other hospitals. Further, residents were concerned about what to do when they had a medical emergency, where to get lab tests done and physical therapy.
Read Natural News' report on how Obamacare is making the doctor shortage even more severe: NaturalNews.com.
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