Special to the Enterprise
(Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and its implementation in Wayne County. The first installment deals with the effect on Wayne Memorial Hospital. Next week’s installment will discuss the plans available and the cost for those choosing to enroll.)
A funny thing happened on the way to learning how Wayne Memorial Hospital will cope with changes coming under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In fact, with implementation of the new health-care system just two months away, the management of the local hospital, local doctors, other health-care providers, and patients have almost no idea how this thing is supposed to work.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, an opponent of the ACA, not only balked at having Georgia expand its Medicaid program; he also declined to provide a state marketplace to provide information on what insurance companies will offer programs for an Exchange in Georgia. This means that to find information for individuals or businesses, all Georgians have to go to the federal website Healthcare.gov—whenever programmers can repair the glitches in the program that will allow it to be used.
Meanwhile, back at Wayne Memorial, Chief Financial Officer Greg Jones is trying to steer the economic future of the hospital without a rudder or a compass.
“We just don’t know,” Jones said this week.
“We don’t know how many people will now be insured. We don’t know what the Exchange plans will pay or who will go from self pay into some Exchange coverage,” he said.
Jones said that with time running out, the local hospital has not heard from a single insurance company whether it will be offering plans in the state Exchange and if so what the company will pay the hospital for any of the patient care rendered. In addition, the federal government has not provided information as to what Medicare will now pay, and the state of Georgia has not indicated any changes to