FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — In a meeting compelled by the Indiana legislature, Parkview Health Tuesday easily checked off two of the three requirements.
Discuss the price of health services? Check.
Discuss community contributions? Big check.
Obtain feedback from the community?
No one from the community was in attendance.
“The forum is a mechanism to both provide information and obtain feedback” explained Parkview spokesperson Tami Brigle. “We understand that other health systems have also experienced low or no attendance.”
The lawmaker who wrote the legislation disagreed.
“It really wasn’t shared in a way that would allow people the time and the space to participate,” said Indiana Senator Justin Busch, (R) Dist. 16.
Al Hubbard with the watchdog group Hoosiers For Affordable Heathcare was even less charitable.
“We had two people monitoring their website daily. We missed it and the whole public missed it,” Hubbard said. “So it was just very disappointing. It just suggests that they are doing something they don’t want people to know about. Their high prices are obviously indefensible.”
Parkview officials said the meeting was on the front page of their website since Nov. 29.
Parkview officials also told WANE 15 no outside audio/video equipment of the meeting would be allowed and that the Parkview recording could not be used on air but select video would be provided.
“It might be something where we need to look at making adjustments so these healthcare institutions would follow more of the spirit of the law,” said Busch. “We want to create a conversation with those in the community.”
David Storey, Parkview Chief Legal and Compliance Officer, welcomed the seven employees and single reporter to the forum. He then introduced Beth Lock, Parkview’s Director of Governmental and Legislative Affairs.
Lock presented Parkview 2021 performance numbers, seen in the provided slide.
Lock called Parkview “the region’s safety net,” which would never compromise on quality care and patient safety.
She then showed Parkview’s 2021 Operating Margin, which was $128 million on $2.5 billion of revenue, or 5.1%.
When Covid relief and minority interest were subtracted, the number came out to $124 million or 5%. That equaled CEO Mike Packnett’s long-stated goal of a nickel of margin on every dollar of revenue.
She reminded the audience Parkview saw double digit price reductions from some commercial payers in 2020 and had a 0% price increase in 2021.
Lock said the numbers for 2022 would be significantly lower, as hyper inflation, higher labor costs, and more bad debt and charity care will increase expenses and lower revenue.
The bulk of the forum touted the $66 million spent on community health.
The first slide from Dr. Sarah GiaQuinta said Parkview invests with “community health improvement, uncompensated and charity care, and advancements in the services we provide.”
GiaQuinta pointed to Parkview’s investments in treating community mental health, obesity and improving maternal/child health.
With the meeting held in the Parkview Community Greenhouse and Learning Kitchen, 1716 Beacon St., GiaQuinta spoke glowingly of the Veggie Rx program, which gives vouchers to purchase fresh produce from local farm markets.
The 109 participants who completed the three month program in 2021 saw improved blood pressure and an increase in general health.
In 2022, the program enrolled 174 participants.
GiaQuinta said the greenhouse is in a prime location to help.
“This building itself serves as a food access point for the area that we’re in right now, which is a food desert” she said. “We have farmers markets here every Thursday in the summer and fall. We help people learn how to grow their own food at home. And I think in general, too, it’s just been a really kind of a nice beautiful place for the community members to gather.”
She also noted Parkview’s work to support all pregnant women with nurse navigators to refer them to community resources, screening 3,000 women each year.
GiaQuinta noted Parkview’s Safe Sleep program educates new parents on safe sleep and distributes cribs to any family in Allen County in need of a safe place for their baby to sleep.