Healthcare highlighted at South Shelby Chamber lunch

Published 5:52 pm Friday, February 5, 2016

Greg Johnston with Brookwood Baptist Health talks local healthcare at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Feb. 4 at First Baptist Church of Columbiana. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)

Greg Johnston with Brookwood Baptist Health talks local healthcare at a South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Feb. 4 at First Baptist Church of Columbiana. (Reporter Photo/Emily Sparacino)


COLUMBIANA – Healthcare in Shelby County was the focus of the most recent South Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon, where representatives of dozens of healthcare entities manned tables and a local hospital leader gave a presentation.

Greg Johnston with Brookwood Baptist Health, a newly formed partnership between Tenet Healthcare and Baptist Health System, talked about partnerships, facilities, insurance and other facets affecting healthcare for county residents on Feb. 4.

Alabaster’s Shelby Baptist Medical Center became part of the joint company after the two companies finalized their mergers on Oct. 2, 2015. The joint venture includes all Baptist Health System hospitals, including Shelby Baptist, Tenet’s Brookwood Medical Center and each organization’s related businesses.

In the merger, Tenet has 60 percent equity and 50 percent governance, while Baptist Health System maintains 40 percent equity and 50 percent governance.

Johnston, who has 24 years of experience with Baptist Health Systems, provided facility information on Shelby Baptist Medical Center – the sponsor of the luncheon – along with its community benefit totals in terms of funding.

“We handle a lot of business from Shelby and Chilton counties,” Johnston said. “We have enjoyed a really good support with the community in Shelby County.”

Shelby Baptist Medical Center has 252 licensed beds; 12,460 admissions; 45,255 emergency room visits; 7,571 surgeries; 1,077 deliveries; and 113,520 outpatient visits.

Johnston said the hospital is “one of the largest employers in Shelby County, with nearly 2,100 employees that work in the Shelby County area.

“Pretty much anything you can get done in the Birmingham area, you can get done at Shelby Baptist Medical Center,” Johnston said, noting the hospital features state-of-the-art cardiology facilities, robotic surgery and good diagnostic capabilities.

The following is a breakdown of the hospital’s community benefit: Charity care, at cost, $2,397,000; government sponsored healthcare subsidy, $7,148,000; total patient-related community benefit, $9,545,000; health professions education, $277,000; financial and in-kind community support, $238,000; community health improvement services, $139,000; other, $21,000; and total community benefit, $10,220,000, amounting to 6.97 percent of operating expenses.

Johnston also talked about Medicaid, saying, “It’s very important to our economy and to the health of our community.”

According to Johnston, Medicaid payments to hospitals in Alabama are generated entirely from hospital “assessments” and federal matching dollars, as no state general fund support for hospital care exists.

“We basically fund our own program,” he said, noting Alabama has the third lowest expenditures per Medicaid beneficiary in the nation.

Regarding health insurance, Mary Fogo asked Johnston what the hospital’s take is on rising insurance costs and whether companies should be held more accountable for wellness care versus sick care.

Johnston said the math behind the Affordable Care Act has not worked out as planned, adding “The needs of the people who didn’t have insurance are far more than they anticipated. Those losses, unfortunately, are getting factored into prices for others.”

Brookwood Baptist Health’s coverage area comprises five hospitals, more than 1,700 beds, 77 health centers, more than 7,300 employees and 1,500 physicians.

Johnston said the hospital will roll out a brand campaign including a new logo in the spring.