Nashville General decision surprises many who want answers

Mayor Megan Barry will have some convincing to do when it comes to persuading the Metro Council to vote to end inpatient care at Nashville General Hospital.

Screen shot 2017-11-20 at 2.29.30 PMAt a meeting held Monday night, dozens of people sat in council chambers at a special-called Budget and Finance Committee meeting hoping to learn how the Mayor would execute her proposal to turn Nashville General into an out-patient facility and end in-patient care.

Nashville General has historically accepted the city’s indigent population even if they don’t have insurance or are unable to pay.

In a letter written by Barry and sent to the Metro Council she writes that the hospital’s operating model “has proven fiscally unsustainable” and restructuring is needed to “promote better health care outcomes for residents in North Nashville and across our city.

Since 2005, Metro has provided more than half a billion dollars to support the operations of Nashville General, while since then the number of patients has decreased, significantly.

Yet, the hospital’s current daily census is about one-third of its licensed capacity. Only about 40 of its 120 beds are being used on an average day, and 20 percent of those are part of an inmate care contract.

“I believe we can invest our resources more strategically to provide for the health care needs of our city’s indigent population, while maintaining operations at Nashville General Hospital.”
The Metro Hospital Authority along with independent contractors and the Mayor’s office are now exploring ways to make the hospital’s operating model more financially stable.

Barry hopes to make a system at Nashville General that prevents people from needing expensive in-patient services. They will also be focusing operations to an ambulatory care model that provides primarily outpatient care services. Currently, approximately 90 percent of hospital visit are outpatients.

The mayor’s office hopes to have the new plan in place in the next six to nine months.