Men's Breakfast Report, July 2007
The Men’s Breakfast group met Saturday, July 14 with Dan Busche, president and CEO of the Brazosport Health Foundation. Dan was raised in Wichita, Kansas and was trained as a respiratory therapist. He then got a degree in Hospital Management and went into management of hospitals, starting in the Wichita area. Before coming to Brazosport he was an administrator in the College Station area. He now is the CEO of the Brazosport Health Foundation that runs the Brazosport Memorial Hospital.
The Brazoport Memorial Hospital is the successor to the Dow Magnesium Hospital built during World War II. It is a run by the foundation as a not-for-profit entity and is governed by a self-perpetuating board of directors; the board itself elects new directors as needed. It does not directly receive any local tax money and is not elected by the public, unlike the Angleton-Danbury hospital board.
One of Dan’s goals is to have more people stay in Brazosport for medical services instead of going to Houston. This is achieved by providing proper facilities and personnel. An example is the upgrading of the obstetrical facilities to a more pleasant environment to encourage mothers to deliver in Brazosport and the publicity about them. He also mentioned the cancer center with its Lineac as state-of-the-art. The cancer center was affiliated with MD Anderson but now is independent since MD Anderson wanted five million dollars for the use of the name. They can still consult with physicians at MD Anderson.
A significant problem is recruiting qualified doctors, since Brazosport is considered to be somewhat in the sticks. Recently graduated doctors often sign with headhunters so the hospital has to pay their fee in addition to guaranteeing an income from practice. The hospital will set up a physician in practice and guarantee a level of income for up to three years with a requirement that they stay for a longer time. Most doctors generate more income by the end of the first year and are no longer under the contract. Experienced specialists are harder to recruit, but are necessary for providing full services. A doctor who has performed many open heart surgeries is desired as a cardiologist even if he is expected to perform few such surgeries here, in order to be able to provide the full range of services, especially during emergencies.
There have been complaints about the emergency room. As a consequence Dan has replaced the company that provided the emergency room physicians and therefore the physicians. The new physicians are all emergency room certified, unlike any other Texas emergency room. The emergency room is getting competition from the new urgent care center. This reduces the load on the emergency room but also reduces the profit from easily treated patients. The new medical imaging center, owned by doctors, will also be a drain on profits.
The hospital needs to make a considerable profit on insured patients because of the large number of uninsured and Medicaid patients that do not pay full costs. The uninsured are often unable to pay their bills. This is becoming more of a problem as fewer employers offer adequate medical insurance. Dow, for example, no longer hires people, if possible, because of medical insurance costs, but hires contractors instead. Dan said this is a increasing problem, but does not think that the Canadian system is the solution because of the long wait times for service. He said that you can get medical treatment anywhere in the world if you have money.
As usual, the men had an informative discussion and a good breakfast. All men are invited to the next breakfast August 11.