Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My turn: Celebrating the expansion of Marshall Medical Center

From page A4 | October 10, 2012 | Leave Comment

Marshall Medical Center is growing … to care for you, and its new Emergency Room and luxurious Birth Center marks a tremendous accomplishment that will have lasting, positive economic impacts on our community. The Grand Opening of the South Wing is a celebration of excellence, of vision, of service and care, of community. Most importantly, it’s a celebration of bold progress in a time where retreat is more often the order of the day.

With any celebration, there are esteemed guests …  and that’s where you come in. Without the support of our local employers, insurance brokers, businesses and residents, MMC would not exist. You are the reason we are here, and we also celebrate and honor your role in ensuring that Marshall Medical Center remains a thriving, hi-tech, cutting edge, independent hospital in the heart of our community.

In the 1950’s, Marshall Hospital was born out of partnership with local businesses and residents. It is no different today. Right now, we are in a partnership … we need you, and you need us. That’s the bottom line. At Marshall, we recognize that local employers provide jobs and benefits to our community. The people they employ buy our houses; they shop in our stores; their children are enrolled in our schools; they are our water customers; they donate to local charities and churches. They pay property tax and sales tax which means we have revenue to fund our fire department and law enforcement; we have the money to pave our roads and provide local amenities like our walking trails, parks, and community pool. And because of the jobs and benefits local employers provide, people in our community have health care.

We’ve touched on why you are vitally important; what about Marshall? Well, MMC is also one of those essential employers. With over 1,500 employees and 200 physicians, we’re one of the five largest employers in El Dorado County, providing jobs that pay a living wage to people in our community. We are also the 7th largest private employer in the Sacramento region. This is significant. In my work on the City Council, there are many efforts underway to get us out of this crushing, economic slump. Our community is looking at how we reinvent ourselves in this new economy and what types of business or industry we can attract that is both appropriate and advantageous to this region. In a recent study done by El Dorado County, health care was determined to be the largest economic driver in our region, and it had the most potential for future growth and earnings. I believe, a thriving, independent hospital in the middle of our County seat remains the single most important factor in attracting the medical and health industry to our beautiful community. We all, therefore, have a vested interest in ensuring that Marshall Medical Center prospers and thrives. I’m going to be so bold to say that the economic health of our community depends on it.

There is one more important fact about Marshall that is crucial to recognize. When our community is employed by local businesses, people can pay for their health care with the benefits provided. When the economy is bad and when people are laid off, health care benefits go away. But guess what, that person who was employed at the lumber mill and is now unemployed, still needs a heart bypass. And Marshall will provide it … we just won’t be paid for it.

Here’s a startling fact … in 2011, Marshall Medical Center billed $800 million in charges. Let me rephrase that: in one year, $800 million dollars worth of health care was provided to our community. Guess what Marshall had to write off? Nearly $614 million, meaning we wrote off 75 percent of what was billed last year. Kinda hard to run a business with those kinds of margins, isn’t it? And yet that is the financial structure of the health industry, and it’s not going to get any better.
Marshall Medical Center is the safety net for the health and wellness of our community, caring for people regardless of their circumstances. And since the economic downturn, we’re still busy. We are still providing health care; we are just not as likely to get paid for it. How can we succeed with those kinds of odds? That’s where you come in.

We need you to choose Marshall. Our future depends on it. As an employer, we need you to choose health care coverage that supports Marshall Medical Center as your provider. As a consumer, we need you to look for plans that allow Marshall to care for you. And as an insurance broker, we need you to convey the message that Marshall provides state-of-the-art, high-tech health care in our own backyard. If you have had experience with us in the past, perhaps have waited in our small Emergency Room late into night, please convey that it’s time to rethink Marshall.

We are opening a state-of-the-art, expanded Emergency Room that is also a certified, Level III Trauma Center. There are only two in the state of California. And one is right here at Marshall Medical Center in Placerville. How fabulous is that? We are also opening a gorgeous, luxurious new birth center. There are 17 private rooms in all, with large, spa tubs in the labor and delivery rooms and pull out sofas so dads can crash in the postpartum accommodations and bond with their newborn babies. And we’re not done. Plans are underway for a new Intensive Care Unit, an expanded kitchen and cafeteria, and most exciting, a new DaVinci robot that is the latest advancement in technology and will allow Marshall physicians to do more precise, delicate surgeries with the most minimally invasive, automated technique possible. The opening of the South Wing is a big deal and a tremendous accomplishment. You can utilize Marshall’s care with the full assurance that you will be getting the best health care possible … without the long commute or hassle, and right in your own neighborhood.

While we are celebrating a progressive accomplishment today, the future is challenging. And yet there’s hope: If our private pay customers increased by a mere 10 percent, it would make all the difference in the world to the strength of our future. If 10 percent more people who are choosing health care benefits chose Marshall as their health care provider, we could continue to grow and expand in caring for our community.

This challenging economy demands that you are passionate about supporting your local community … that you are committed to shopping locally, and that if you have a dollar to spend, you choose to spend it in your own backyard. And it certainly means that because you have a high-tech, high-caring, state-of-the-art medical center in the heart of your community, that you choose Marshall as your provider. The health of our community depends on it.

Wendy Mattson is vice mayor of the Placerville City Council and is a board member of Marshall Medical Center.


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