Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital Board Members are talking about how the federal budget sequestration will impact the facility.
They expect to get $600,000 less in Medicare reimbursements for in 2013, but the hit will triple next year. Phoebe expects a $1.9 million reduction for 2014.
"It's something that we're having to deal with along with the rest of the hospitals in our country," said Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick. "We hope of course that congress over time finds a way to mitigate this. But it will also mean that we're obviously going to be continuing to tighten our belt and carefully evaluate all the programs here at the hospital."
The balanced control act of 2011 mandated a two percent sequester of Medicare spending over the next nine years. The cuts went into effect April first and Albany is seeing a direct hit.
But officials are confident that jobs will not have to be cut. "Over the years we've looked at all kinds of different things. But I think the industry as a whole, whether it's here in Albany or elsewhere, will find that hospitals are merging and consolidating and doing that to try to take efficiencies from various different services. It's something that we're having to deal with along with the rest of the hospitals in our country," Wernick said.
And board members are confident patients won't see an impact in service.
"In our case I don't know that patients will see any change. Our goal is to continue to provide the level of care and service level that we have in the past. So we're continuing to look at ways to buy things cheaper, to operate less expensively, to make sure we're very efficient in all of our processes."
Over time, the effects could get worse. A recent report estimates 20,500 health care related jobs could be cut in Georgia by 2021. But folks at Phoebe are hoping that Congress will ultimately come to a solution that would modify sequestration.
In the next decade, Phoebe says they could lose $17.5 million from federal reimbursements.