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Panama City News Herald Newspaper Archives Dec 19 1999, Page 1

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Panama City News Herald (Newspaper) - December 19, 1999, Panama City, Florida Weather forecast High Low 65 i partly Cloudy mrs. Reagan says former president unable to make conversation see Page 4a sunday december 19,1999 sports a a Bay Downs pics for tournament title see Page 1c Gen next virtual presence video games reviewed for players and parents see Page i the news Herald City Florida $1.25 indigent care saps Hospital editor s note a taskforce including representatives of Bay county municipalities is searching for alternative methods to pay for rising indigent care costs. Bay medical Center requested such Aid to allow it enough profit to afford renovations and expansions. Over the next few Days the news Herald will examine factors that influence the hospitals Revenue streams Tony Sim m o n s t h h news Herm i Willie j. Robinson has Learned patience in the last 15 years and three months. That show Long he a been making trips to Bay medical Center from his Home in port St. Joe. Three times a week and for four hours and 45 minutes each time Robinson must undergo Haemodialysis a a process in which a machine filters impurities from his blood because his kidneys no longer can do the Job. Bay medical is the Only Hospital in a seven county area that offers the therapy a we have a Hospital in port St. Joe but it does no to give the treatment i need a said Robin sop age 48. Robinsons Bills Are covered by medicare and medicaid a but because of changes in the Way the Federal gov caring in costs mme eminent reimburses hospitals for those charges Bay medical Center will lose Money on Robinsons treatment. The Hospital lost about $4.6 million on medicare cases alone in fiscal 1999, according to Ron Wolff president and chief executive officer. A in one year we have experienced a 20-percent increase in uncompensated care Charity cases and bad debt a a Wolff said. A at the same time we be experienced cutbacks from every payer led by the Federal government. We can to sustain those kinds of cuts for neither can Bay county a other Hospital the for profit Gulf coast medical Center said president and ceo Brent Marsteller. Gulf coast is part of the Nashville Columbia Cha healthcare corp., a National Chain of for profit hospitals. A medicare and medicaid make up about 65 percent of our business a Marsteller said. A particularly in deliveries. We do 65 percent of the county a deliveries and 50 percent of those Are each of the hospitals lost More than $100 million to Federal a a allowances for medicaid and medicare charges in fiscal 1998, Marsteller said. Often the government will pay Only a Small percentage of the costs associated with treatments. A a it a a serious problem a Marsteller said. A it has devastated the Home health and skilled nursing industries reimbursement blues Federal reimbursement rules were rewritten in 1985, and since then medicare has paid hospitals on a Flat rate based upon the diagnosis regardless of the actual costs associated with treatment. In the past that method resulted in hospitals receiving slightly More than actual costs of treatment. But the balanced budget act of 1997 created massive changes in medicare reimbursements for Hospital costs a cuts amounting to $44 billion Over five years. A a we re not unique in that by any Means a said Bic chief nursing officer Peg Price. A for lots of hospitals its difficult to make the Bottom see indigent Page 9a county line is twice the fun Celebration tune zone line guarantees two new years Eves for Gulf Bay count ians. Amy Roe the new s Herald St. Joe Beach ifs y2k�?times two. For revellers at the edges of Bay and Gulf counties the new millennium will have a second coming. Come again the line that separates Eastern and Central time zones Falls at the Bay Gulf county line at county 386 and . 98. Come new years eve its Dejavu. Two countdowns to Midnight. Two Champagne toasts. And two too Many renditions of Auld Long syne. A i know people coming from Texas and Minnesota for this a says Sharon Call owner of Sharon a cafe in Mexico Beach. But some celebrations will be somber. A about a minute before that clock hits Midnight i m going to be sending up some prayers a says Billy Dixson. The operator of the areas Only taxi service Dixon Isnit worried about millennium glitches. A i got no y2k problems i Deal in Cash and carry a he says. A you get the Cash i carry you the extra millennium moments mean More than just extra fares though. A i got another hour to Pray a he says. In addition to Dixson Scab a free time travelling trolley will also be on hand from 7 . To 3 . Cost. For a schedule and route map Call the Mexico Beach visitor information Center at 648-8196. The multiple millennium also gives see new years Page 3a thanking his a Good Friend Charles Whitehead for inviting him president Clinton acknowledges a warm Welcome from Florida democrats. Whitehead renewing party Kend All Middi Ema s the e news Herald Here was Charles Whitehead dancing to the song pump it up with . Rep. Carrie Meek As More than 2,000 Florida democrats roared their approval. And Here was Charles Whitehead walking on stage with and then introducing president Bill Clinton who in turn thanked his a Good Friend for inviting Whitehead him. Here again was Charles Whitehead banging his fists on the podium taking shots at the Brothers Bush. Here was speaker after speaker from a Gadsden county commissioner to the president a crediting Whitehead with bringing new life to the flagging Florida democratic party. Here is the irony Whitehead a former Panama City car dealer is approaching 70. In a quasi coup earlier this year he replaced Mitch Ceasar who is in his mid-40s, As party chairman. And so it seems it took something old see Whitehead Page 8a Index byborny/1 f business/6-8f classifieds/2-14g deaths/2b Gen next/1 -2d floroscope/6d fifestyle/1 -6e local/state/1-7b movies/7d people/2a prime time/6d sports/1-Ioc stat sheet/4c ./world/4-9a viewpoint/1 -3f weather/8b in t a Freedom newspaper 6 42694 00001 2 Panhandle made firm impression in weird state news this year Brendan Farrington t h e a s s Ocia t de Pris weird adj a strikingly Odd strange fantastic bizarre. Eccentric erratic or unconventional in behaviour. Florida a Vee above. 1999 proved to be another weird year in Florida. A Blind Alligator wrestler retired two years after losing his sight. A couple got married in the nude on a Miami area Beach. A thief stole 14 million bees in Dade City. There were weird crimes Freak accidents Odd animal behaviour Odd human behaviour and just Plain stupidity. Some stories were gruesome but bizarre. Like the Man who injured his Finger during a fight then Cut it off cooked it with scrambled eggs and ate it. Apparently he did t consider other options like the Orlando area Man who lost a chunk of a Finger while slicing a Frozen pig then underwent Leech treatment to save the digit. Money laundering took on a new meaning in Miramar when a Box of cheer detergent fell out of an Sun split open and scattered $340,000 on the Road. Lack of soap was a problem in Boca Raton where officials considered Banning body odor from its Public Library to try to keep a smelly woman away. A recreation Center in brow Ard county was less concerned with cleanliness. It banned soap in its locker room showers to keep people from slipping falling and suing. See weird Page 3a Newt Herald photo Robert Cooper medicare patient Willie Robinson of port St. Joe must travel to Bay medical Center in Panama City three times a week for five hour treatments at the dialysis Center. Traffic comes to a stand still in the westbound lanes of interstate 4 near Debary As curious motorists look at a construction sign that reads a the cow is

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