WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Apprehension About KAH Donation

Apr 13, 2012

There is some apprehension among members of the Keokuk City Council when it comes to supporting the local hospital.

Keokuk Area Hospital continues to face an uncertain future due to its financial instability. 

The hospital says it is reimbursed about 75% of the money spent on care and services.  That is due to a number of factors, including a large number of low income clients and the formula for state and/or federal reimbursements.

Lee County has already agreed to contribute $100,000 to Keokuk Area Hospital as a local match for state and federal money.  This is part of the strategy to stabilize the hospital.

Keokuk could vote as early as next week on its own $100,000 pledge, which prompted a debate during Thursday night’s meeting. 

Most of the city council members, including 3rd Ward Alderman Ron Payne, said the city must do what it takes to help the hospital get through its financial struggles.  Payne also said he has some concerns about whether this pledge will be enough.

“In my mind, this is a one-time opportunity,” says Payne, “if six months from now, things are going down the toilet again, don’t think we can do anything for them.”

Some of the other concerns expressed Thursday night revolved around the need for a long-term plan for sustainability and around potential changes to the health care system. 

There were also questions about the management at the hospital.  Mayor Tom Marion, who now serves on the Hospital’s oversight board, says firms are being brought in to study operations and day-to-day activities.

The city’s contribution could come from the bridge fund or a fund dedicated to projects helping low-to-moderate income individuals.