VDMC sets tax asking

Trustees to keep figures the same as last four years

The Van Diest Medical Center Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to keep the county tax asking for the 2017-2018 hospital budget at the same level as the previous four years.

The tax asking will remain at $2.10 per $1,000 of valuation at the recommendation of the hospital finance committee, according to Board Chairman Roberta Knutson. The revenue estimated is to be raised by the taxation is about 7.2 percent of the proposed budgeted operational expenses, she said.

“We fall at about 50 percent of the valuation, and about 75 percent of the revenues as compared to other public facilities in Iowa,” said Knutson.

The board approved the recommended tax asking.

Chief Executive Officer Lori Rathbun said the pressure on hospitals is more than ever this year in terms of what might happen with the Affordable Care Act and the plans to repeal and replace the measure.

“We have been urging Sen. Grassley and other legislators to avoid any action that relates to any changes to Title XIX reimbursement which would leave us and the patients vulnerable,” she said. “The state has about 100,000 patients that in the expansion efforts are now covered and anything that would compromise that could cause disastrous consequences for us.”

She acknowledged that there will likely be a repeal and replacement of the ACA but are asking that Title XIX be secured as is with no changes and no reductions in reimbursement.

She added that she and Knutson will be attending the Iowa Hospital Association Day on the Hill and will meet with legislators about state concerns, including the potential repeal of the Certificate of Need laws.

“We definitely want to make our voices heard on that along with Medicaid managed care, mental health services in Iowa and the need for better structure around behavioral health services,” Rathbun said. She added that she would appeal for all insurance payers to be paid for telehealth services.

“Telehealth services are evolving. We have some of those here but we need our commercial payers and all payers to support reimbursement for that.”

“We will come back and share some stories with you,” she told the board.

Rathbun also reported that Knutson had been nominated by Rathbun and Kirk Norris, CEO of the Iowa Hospital Association, to serve one of the American Hospital Association committees. She has been nominated to the committee for governance and the other is the regional policy board.

“There’s a lot of competition, so we’re hoping our letters were crafted to reflect all of the contributions that Roberta provides,” Rathbun said.

Knutson said interviews will be held in April and the announcement of who has been selected for the committees will likely come this summer.