Friday, September 2, 2016

Hospital Board: 6 Questions for Jim Meister

Jim Meister
Hospital Board Northern District, Seat 1

1. What are the major pros and cons of privatizing Sarasota Memorial Hospital and what is your position? 

For over 90 years SMH has been a tax payer funded and community owned not-for-profit hospital providing excellent care. It must remain not-for-profit!  As a for-profit institution it would be owned by the shareholders who have a vested interest in revenue and earnings rather than servicing the community.

2. Regarding the expansion of Sarasota Memorial Hospital: please expand upon why you agree or disagree with the current expansion?   
SMH must meet the needs of the people of our community and provide the services to meet these needs. Our expansion of the number of Urgent Care Centers, building a soon to be opened 45 bed Rehabilitation Pavilion on campus which will provide patient focused inpatient therapy to help people overcome the challenges and disabilities caused by illness or injury, our alliance with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to build a pediatric care center on the upper floor of our 24 hour Emergency  Care Center in North Port, and our new partnership with Florida State University College of Medicine for a new internal residency training program which allows us to build a medical clinic in Newtown to provide more convenient  services for that community are a few examples of the many ways we are meeting these changing needs.

3. How would you like future expansion to proceed?
Expansion depends on meeting the changing medical service needs of our community and our ability to fund growth that does not jeopardize our strong financial ratings.  

4. The failure of the State of Florida to expand Medicaid increases the hospital's uncompensated costs. What is your position on accepting the Federal Medicaid Funds? 
I am in favor of taking the Medicaid expansion for two reasons. First, I believe that more members of our community with coverage is better for everyone. Second, I believe that Floridians already pay taxes for this but get no benefit because of the state’s refusal to accept Federal Medicaid Funds.

5. Moral and financial reasons for accepting Federal Medicaid Funds which were presented to the past Legislature did not work. How can the taxpayers encourage the Legislature to accept the federal Medicaid funds?
Actively urge and encourage the Legislature and the Executive Branch through lobbying, writing and meeting with local representatives to express our concerns for the people who have no or inadequate healthcare due the underfunding of Medicaid.

6. Mental health services are currently poorly funded; the low income working poor and some elders could benefit from the expansion of the federal Medicaid funds. How do you feel the hospital can be instrumental in providing the proposed expansion of mental health services that may be funded under the Affordable Care Act?

Our inability to fund and provide quality mental health services is a national disgrace. Our federal and state governments, with help from current providers and all concerned citizens need to come together to find a better way. What we have now is not working. The lack of a shared plan and resources results in unacceptable treatment and care for those in need!!

SMH Bayside Center for Behavioral Health is the only hospital in Sarasota County offering inpatient psychiatric services to patients of all ages, including children and adolescents at a time when many other providers have limited their services. We also are the only hospital to provide evaluation, and care in a specifically designed unit located in the Emergency Care Center for behavioral health patients with medical issues. More needs to done. SMH must address its aging Behavioral Health facility ng plant and increase the availability of Psychiatrist candidates and professional staff with expanded recruiting efforts. The county and city of Sarasota must together find the ways and means to provide housing and support services for homeless and community members with behavioral health needs.

1 comment:

  1. I suggest readers compare the specifics in Jim's answers to the answers of his opponent. His answers demonstrate the knowledge he has gained while being on the Board.