Bay Medical Nears End Of First Year As Private Hospital - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Bay Medical Nears End Of First Year As Private Hospital

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It has been nearly a year since a joint venture partnership took Bay Medical Center private.  On Wednesday, executives from Bay Medical, Sacred Heart Health System and LHP Hospital Group briefed the media on the health of the partnership.

Officials said they have made strides in employee relations, cost control and patient satisfaction.  Bay Medical lost money in 2012 but officials said they're hoping for a turnaround this year.

Millions of dollars are being spent on capital improvements – $5 million since the lease took effect and another $8 million planned for 2013.  Equipment for the heart cath lab, information technology and operating room are the top priorities.  Bay Medical is also pursuing physicians as part of an aggressive growth strategy.

Jan Offret, interim CEO, said the investment has long-term implications.  "It says we're here to stay, we're here to make this hospital a success," said Offret.  "We want to make sure that the community as well as the physicians, the employees and the patients benefit from having a top notch facility in their community."

Potential changes in the Medicaid program and federally-mandated budget cuts have hospital leaders concerned about the impact on health care.  According to Paul Kappelman, LHP's Division President, cuts will force the company to take a close look at all hospital services to ensure they fit its overall mission.

"We've got to continue to look at those to see if it makes sense to spin those out into somebody else… where the community doesn't have any disruption in services but Bay Med becomes more efficient and can focus the resources on acute care patients," said Kappelman.

Bay Medical will remain committed to providing charity care even if federal cuts force cutbacks in other areas, said Kappelman.