On Thursday’s “What’s Your Opinion Show, “Marshall County Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said an ad-hoc committee made up of “pillars of the community” have been meeting almost every week for about two months as rumors are swirling about what’s been happening at Saint Joseph Health Center locations in Plymouth and around Marshall County.
Overmyer wanted to make it clear to the public that what’s been happening at St. Joe is not the fault of the doctors, medical staff, or the local administration. He said health care systems across the country are experiencing a financial crisis. They are looking at services provided and working to address their financial crisis due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The commissioner said they say they are losing money, so they are cutting services to save money.
Cutting services were also part of the radio discussion. Overmyer confirmed that Cardiac-Rehab at LifePlex has stopped and Physical Therapy for children is no longer being offered. He told WTCA that Dr. Anand Singla, the Cardiologist at Marshall County Cardiology was let go this week along with some of the staff. He was fearful that OB/GYN services might be next.
While these are in Plymouth, the impact is reaching further into Marshal County with a notice that Bremen Family Medicine will close on September 1st along with the Lake Shore Clinic in Culver.
Overmyer said Dr. Rogers in Bourbon has retired and other doctors have decided to retire or leave instead of staying on with Saint Joseph.
Another issue that concerns the commissioner was the notification to Older Adult Services that with a 90 notice, in August they will no longer support transportation of oncology patients to the hospital for treatment. Overmyer said, “For 20 years they have been funding this transportation piece and now they won’t so we need to make sure those patients can get to their treatments.”
Commissioner Overmyer said he contacted the State Department of Health Monday evening about the situation. He was put in contact with Brian Tabors from the Indiana Hospital Association. Mr. Tabors was able to contact Shawn Vincent, President, and CEO of Loyola Medicine and Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph Health Systems and start a conversation about the county’s concerns.
Commissioner Overmyer said he would like to know their plan. He commented that citizens don’t know where to go. They need their prescriptions refilled and their doctors are gone and many of the local doctors in the county are full and not accepting new patients.
Overmyer said he was informed on Wednesday that in Marshall County, for available primary care physicians we are at 2,010 for each physician while the state’s average is 1,490. He said, “We are almost 600 patients over the average of doctors caring for patients.” For primary care providers other than physicians the county is at 1,590 to 1 while the state’s average is 901 to 1. Overmyer wasn’t sure if the numbers were real-time or not. If not, he said the numbers would have increased greatly into the negative in the past three months.
Overmyer and the ad-hoc committee hope to have a face-to-face meeting with representatives from Trinity Health in the next few weeks to see if they can find out what their plan is to help assure citizens that healthcare coverage will be readily available.