Baptist To Close ER In January
For The Record- Dave Rogers
Officials at Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas announced they will close all emergency services at the Orange campus early in the new year.
A Tuesday news release said the shutdown will happen Jan. 12, 2017, when the current agreement with the physician group staffing the emergency room runs out. Those doctors are discontinuing their services.
The group cited declining patient demand, reductions in reimbursement, rising healthcare costs, the influx and presence of other free standing emergency room competitors and failure to expand Medicaid by the state of Texas as reasons for discontinuing services, the release stated.
Local residents will continue to have access to emergency services provided by the area’s two remaining free standing emergency centers.
Baptist-Orange will continue to provide outpatient laboratory services and state-of-the-art imaging services such as EKG/EEG, CT scans, MRI, an outpatient infusion clinic, pharmacy and a sleep center.
Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas are not-for-profit, community owned healthcare offerings dedicated to providing high-quality health services in a Christian environment, the release said.
Baptist Hospital-Orange has operated since 1957, but has cut back on its full service offerings in recent years.
In 2013, it stopped delivering babies, citing a cut in state funds.
Midway through 2015, it eliminated its in-patient services.
“Like many other community hospitals across the country, the Orange hospital has been challenged with decreasing insurer reimbursements, declining local demand, and increasing underinsured/uninsured populations,” stated David Parmer, the hospital’s chief executive officer.
“We have worked diligently to ensure that Orange County residents have had top-quality emergency medical services to support the community’s most vital needs. However, with the notification that the emergency services provider would not renew their contract, this very difficult decision had to be made.”
The news release said the Orange campus, like other community hospitals, has long relied on subsidies to facilities serving areas with high numbers of Medicaid patients and uninsured.
Those subsidies have been significantly reduced since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. At the time of the bill’s passage, health officials assumed that millions of uninsured Americans would gain coverage through the new law, but that has not been the case.
Jerry Kersey, human resources chief for Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas, reports 18 of the hospital’s employees will be affected by the change in Orange.
He said he is hopeful those employees can be transferred to Beaumont.
“These decisions are never easy,” said Pamer, the CEO. “We made a significant investment in quality personnel, physicians and equipment at our Orange facility.
“But, ultimately, this was not a sustainable situation because it drains critically needed financial resources from our hospital system.”