Covenant Budget Cuts Part of National Health Care Concerns - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/21/02

Covenant Budget Cuts Part of National Health Care Concerns

Covenant Medical Center is facing possible layoffs. The hospital is in the process of cutting its operational budget by $40 million. The budget is being reduced for a number of reasons, but mainly because reimbursements from programs like Medicare are not making up for the actual costs of medical procedures. Covenant says if layoffs are necessary they will affect less than 3% of total staff. But still, that's about 200 people.

Medicare cuts aren't just affecting hospitals here. The cuts, which took effect October 1st, are plaguing health care providers nationwide.

"Hospitals and health care providers will be in trouble for quite some time because the health care system in the U.S. is in trouble. Therefore, things that happen at Covenant are partly a reflection of what's happening all over with the very poor way the American health care system is organized," says Texas Tech health care policy expert Dr. Clarke Cochran.

Dr. Cochran says that one way to fix this problem is to develop more realistic payment formulas in Medicare, Medicaid, and children's health insurance programs. Ultimately, Dr. Cochran feels we need a fundamental restructuring of the entire health care system.

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