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Reform bill good for hospitals

As analysts attempt to determine the long-term effects of the health care reform bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday, local hospital officials say the bill is mostly good for hospitals.

“The Alabama Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals all came out in support of the final version,” Andalusia Regional Hospital CEO Mark Dooley said. “One of the big things they looked at is ‘What’s the alternative.’ “

More than half of the hospitals in Alabama are losing money because of reimbursement levels, he said. As more people become insured, the reimbursement levels should improve, he said.

“That would be wonderful for the hospital to know that all of its patients were insured,” Mizell Memorial Hospital CEO Jana Wyatt said. “But, the cost of trying to insure all of the citizens is going to come at a cost. All of the employers are going to bear some of the cost.

“There were so many concessions made just to get it passed last night. I don’t know that we know everything that was in the actual bill,” Wyatt said.

Hospitals are legally bound to treat patients who present for care, even if the patients aren’t insured.

Both Wyatt and Dooley said that their facilities should benefit from having more patients who have coverage.

“There are some things that could impact us positively and negatively,” Wyatt said.