By Hugh Qualls, Mt. Grant General Hospital Administrator

“Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject…Nobody knew health care could be so complicated” (President Trump addressing National Governors Association, February 27, 2017).

Couldn’t agree more with the President! Healthcare issues are nothing new, of course, but seem to get more complex and complicated each year. Health insurance coverage and policies, whether private or government sponsored, are at the heart of this complex, complicated subject. Anyone who has spent even a minute or two trying to make sense of Medicare and Medicaid plans typically starts scratching his head after the second or third sentence; try a paragraph or two and your eyes will glaze over. More than simply confusing (often contradictory), prolonged reading of CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) managed care plans is sure to induce a migraine. CMS has made an effort to use “plain language” in documents and guidance the last few years but room for improvement remains—lots of room.

I state the obvious for the brave who have attempted to hack through this dense jungle of jargon and gibberish that help is available, online and locally. One great website with a name that says it all is Center For Plain Language. Their Medicare Made Clear page is useful for those new to retirement as well as seasoned healthcare pros. Parts A, B, C, & D along with supplemental plans and additional benefits are explained clearly in plain English. To be fair, CMS does have a site entitled Plain Writing, which it certainly is when compared to their traditional Medicare pages, but still pales considerably to nongovernment sites like Medicare Made Clear. No doubt you can find others equally helpful by searching the internet.

For those who prefer more personal and local assistance, look no further than 200 South A Street. That’s right: Mt. Grant General is fortunate to employ subject matter experts in Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, as well as numerous private health insurance programs. Business Office Manager Brandon and team (Jaime, Tinae, Angela, Danielle, Mikki, Sarana, Paula) are experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to the mysteries and intricacies of plan coverage, deductibles, and co-pays. Call or stop by if you have questions. Finally, Mineral County Care & Share has a staff expert as well who can explain and assist with insurance coverage and benefits. Call Laticha at 945-5519 for help. We are here to support our Mineral County Seniors.

Lots of questions about our 50 percent discount program; many ask why we are doing it. Several reasons actually, but the best is that it is our way of giving back to the community that has supported and sustained your local hospital for nearly six decades. Thanks to the hard work of retired administrator Richard Munger and dedicated staff over the years, Mt. Grant General has kept its doors open through good times and bad. Be sure to take advantage of this offer before it expires on April 30. And no (another question often asked), we won’t be repeating it again next year or likely for several years (benefit of the Pennington grant we received late last year; unlikely to win more anytime soon).

Recognition Time: I look forward each month to spotlighting one of the many teams at MGGH who excel at what they do. An easy choice this month, as they have been mentioned already—the Business Office. This team is dedicated to assisting providers, patients and visitors. Customer service is their first priority, and they strive to improve at it each day. Your feedback is always welcome; call me if you have concerns or stop in and say hello next time you visit.