"As we push our envelope to take better care of patients, it will push other hospitals to do the same, and in the end patients will benefit," said Dr. Tom McRae, cardiologist and managing partner of Centennial Heart Center.I'm sorry, good doctor, but I wonder if we'll ever realize that this "build it, bigger, better and they will come" mentality will soon bite us all in the butt when the bill comes due. Sadly, they're not the only ones:
Other area hospitals have seen similar growth, pushing each to expand heart-care services. Tennessee has the sixth-highest rate of heart disease mortality in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which used 2006 data. (eds note: nothing like making projections on old data) About 233 people died for every 100,000 people.What me worry, right? It's so nice to reassure ourselves that such construction is in the best interest of our patients! Like Greece, it's always good to reassure ourselves that the health care spending party will never end.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Heart and Vascular Institute had 9,800 outpatient visits for cardiac care in 1998. Today, that number stands at about 80,000 outpatient visits among the main hospital, off-site clinics and 100 Oaks, said Dr. Keith Churchwell, executive director and chief medical officer. Vanderbilt also increased the number of cardiac critical care beds from 27 to more than 50 about six months ago. "Cardiology is an area of medicine that continues to evolve very quickly, and the types of rooms we built for procedures 10 years ago are too small to do what we want to do," Churchwell said. "We're constantly assessing."
Saint Thomas Health Service boasts 60 cardiac specialists between Saint Thomas and Baptist, and it has a network of 14 hospitals and 22 clinics in the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky regions. The heart patient population is only going to get bigger as the baby boomers enter their silver years, pushing the demand for services even higher, said Dr. Howard Walpole, chief of cardiac science for Saint Thomas Heart.
Never mind that the CBO has just reported that we're already $115 Billion over budget on the originally passed health care reform budget before we even get started.