Nashville General one of many troubled public hospitals nationwide

Jun 20, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  A leading medical news publisher says the financial troubles at Nashville’s public safety-net hospital aren’t unique, but calls recent board resignations troubling.

Molly Gamble is Editor in Chief of Becker’s Hospital Review. She says most big city public hospitals operate on the financial edge. Becker says that’s because most treat uninsured patients who can’t pay.

Credit nashvillegeneral.org

But Gamble says seeing five of eleven General Hospital board members depart in a matter of weeks is troubling.

“Nationally that’s not a common occurrence. You don’t see that many people within a short amount of time resign from a board position unless there’s really a situation that’s, you know, really troublesome.”

Gamble notes that Nashville General has suffered in part because Tennessee has failed to expand Medicaid. She says the hospital will likely take another hit when the federal government begins cutting longstanding reimbursements to providers that care for indigent patients.

“By 2025 the program was supposed to have been reduced by more than half…by 55 percent. So if you have a stake in that health system the fact that that program is still on the horizon is troubling as well.”

When WMOT asked Gamble to name a big city safe net hospital that’s doing well right now, she couldn’t name a single facility.

The Metro Council was forced earlier this year to approve more than $17 million in supplemental funding to keep Nashville General operating through the end of the fiscal year.  

Mayor David Briley says he has begun the search for replacements to bring the hospital’s governing board back up to full strength.

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