Mammoth Hospital responds to low snow year

mammoth_hospital_entrance.jpgLike the whole town, Mammoth Hospital has suffered due to the poor snow year and lack of visitors. Hospital officials have responded with an across the Board plan for employees to take one unpaid day off per pay period.

Hospital CEO Gary Myers said of the lack of snow, “We have definitely been affected. The Emergency Department and Orthopedics drive some measurability of profit. With the Mountain down very significantly,” he said, “our numbers are down. Healthcare is a function of people in town.”

Myers added that the hospital’s clinics remain very strong. He said, “We’re meeting our mission of healthcare for the local community.” Of the overall hospital condition, Myers said it’s not a dire situation, but the hospital will be lucky to break even this year. For the last 3 to 4 years, Mammoth Hospital, said Myers, has had a 6 to 7% margin.

The CEO praised the staff for holding down expenses and for cooperating in a new Flexing Program. Myers said there could have been lay offs, but the decision was made to take time off to save money. Said Myers, “We made a decision as an organization. Everyone, from myself to housekeeping will take time off.”

Myers said the Hospital has asked people to take their paid vacation time off, and, he said, workers are compelled to take one day off per pay period. He said, “It’s not a hard hit. We don’t want to lose anyone.” Now, just like the rest of the town, the Hospital looks forward to a busy summer season ahead. Myers feels confident in the condition of Mammoth Hospital. He said the organization has 195 days of cash on hand. “And,” he said, “we’re all hoping for a good snow year next year. This year we lost all the major holidays because of no snow.”

Aside from the local conditions that impact all businesses, Mammoth Hospital faces other challenges. Myers said the Affordable Care Act is changing the payment environment. The federal government has required other changes. Myers said the Accountable Care Organization focuses on the highest risk patients and requires hospitals to care for them on an outpatient basis before their chronic conditions grow worse. Mammoth hired a new Nurse Practitioner to do this work, which borders on social service. The idea, Myers said, is for a number of organizations to keep tabs on the same people they all help.

Myers said he and Northern Inyo Hospital’s CEO joined a lot of other rural hospital administrators for a meeting in Reno recently. Myers said all the institutions are struggling. Most have had to convert to Electronic Health Records – computerized health care. It’s changing the way care is delivered and in many cases placing a burden on health care providers, who will also launch into a new bureaucratic coding system in October – another unfunded mandate from the federal government.

The financial challenge, Myers said, is the greatest issue with a low volume year and lots of challenges in-house. He said, “We’re asking staff to cut back but to get more done.”

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30 Responses to Mammoth Hospital responds to low snow year

  1. Desert Tortoise March 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    The number one cause of bankruptcy in the US is unpaid medical bills, and the great majority of those going bankrupt for that reason have medical insurance. There is nothing to be proud about in our method of delivering and paying for health care. Northern Inyo Hospital is just one symptom of the much larger disease.

    Any form of insurance has the nearly unavoidable tendency to price out those with low incomes unable to afford the insurance, and to deny coverage to those who they view as high risk. That inevitably leaves large proportions of any society unable to obtain insurance.

    This may seem ok to the free market purist but it bumps into another fact of economics, namely that provision of health care is one of the three most important things a nation must do, and do well, if it is to grow and prosper economically. The other two items are infrastructure and education. Health care and education are the investments in human infrastructure we make as a society in order to be able to grow our economy and raise our standard of living. Allowing a large segment of your population to live without access to routine health care will very much restrict a nation’s ability to grow and eventually lower incomes and the overall standard of living. This is the little detail that many politicians do not want to talk about.

  2. Greg Young March 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Here is some more selfless, priceless, ghoulish work but multiple Mammoth Hospital physicians and support staff who placed themselves in a very dangerous situation to do nothing more than serve people in need:,0,889048.story#ixzz2xKBcIhLF

    By Jason Felch
    November 10, 2013, 5:41 p.m.

    A group of doctors from the Mammoth Lakes area was among the first humanitarian aid groups to reach the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, which is believed to have killed about 10,000 people as it moved across the island nation Friday.

    Sixteen doctors, surgeons and medical volunteers with the Mammoth Medical Missions were at Los Angeles International Airport on Friday morning on their way to a previously scheduled project in Chiapas, Mexico, when they learned about the devastating typhoon, said Pamela Bold, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit relief group based in Mammoth Lakes.

    After consulting with the Philippine Red Cross and other aid groups, they quickly changed their flights for Manila. By Saturday afternoon, they had arrived and were at an air force base boarding a C130 cargo flight with the 505th Air Wing of the Philippine Air Force. At last report, their destination was Tacloban City, one of the areas most devastated by a 13-foot storm surge that reports say left few structures standing.

    More than 1,000 people in Tacloban City had been reported dead before official search and rescue operations had begun Saturday, according to an email sent by the group’s chief executive, Michael Karch, an orthopedic surgeon at Mammoth Hospital and team physician with the United States ski team.

    “There are few times in life when you make a swift, heartfelt decision because you know it’s the right thing to do, even if it means sacrifice, uncertainty and potential danger,” Karch said in a statement released by the group.

    The group has three surgical teams, more than 30 crates of medical supplies and a mobile surgical tent, Bold said. Many of the doctors and the medical team work at Mammoth Hospital and are expected to lead triage operations when they arrive on the ground.

    With the team is Bold’s husband, James, a physician’s assistant at Mammoth Hospital, and their 16-year-old son Carson, who volunteered with the group on a medical mission to Mexico two years ago.

    “When this came up, I said: Are you ready for this?” Bold recalled telling her son Friday. “This is what he wants to do.”

    The group is expected to be there for at least a week and will send reports on their work daily via satellite phone and the group’s Facebook page, Pamela Bold said.

  3. mongo March 28, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    I wish we could instantly “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” people in and out of government.

  4. Ken Warner March 28, 2014 at 9:19 am #


    (Reuters) – Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

    “We’re losing more Americans every day because of inaction … than drunk driving and homicide combined,” Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.

    Or is this too condescending?

    • Benett Kessler March 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      It wasn’t until you said, “Or is this too condescending?”

  5. advocate March 28, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    I’m sorry Bennett I’m not buying the argument of they are doing the best they can. The reality is that at least for NIH, the prices for many procedures are up to 10 times higher then in many other hospitals so people are choosing to go out of the area. Secondly many people have lost faith in NIH, because of recent issues with HIPPA and privacy violations. And the hospital has become a place that has become more concerned with protecting management then providing quality care. And I agree that a poor economy hasn’t helped, but at least in Bishop, they could do much better, but the excuses are getting really old. I’ve,been in this community a long time, the new hospital is cold an sterile and unwelcoming, staff does not truly respect privacy. Lastly the staff was clear in employee surveys that the there is a huge employee morale problem. So for me and my money I’ll go where the staff is treated with fairness and respect, where my information is kept private and where the cost is affordable.

    • Wayne Deja March 29, 2014 at 8:14 am #

      advocate…..disagree….when I had to have a “procedure” done last year at Bishop NIH,everyone,from greeting staff,to prep staff,nurses to the doctors,they made what I had done a much better experience than what I was being told it would be or what I expected….not to mention the problem I was having back then… it was diagnosed,treated and fixed now……..

  6. Frank March 27, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    ” It’s a for profit industry run by ghouls.”


    If Mammoth Hospital closed it would be seriously detrimental to the locals.

    Yet if they make enough to stay open they are, in your view, run by “ghouls”.

    I think maybe you should walk that comment back, Mr. Warner.

  7. Joe March 27, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    The profit motive drives innovation and hastens the advancement of most things we use and consume. The drug companies may spend into the hundreds of millions to research and bring to market life improving or saving medicines on the hopes of making billions in return. These billions help cover the cost of all the research and development of the other treatments that never get past stage 1 or 2 testing. If you are referring to profit motive of the health care providers such as hospitals, look no further than many non-profit hospitals which still operate in the red. NIH barely operates in the black and the outlook is not good for future returns based on changes ongoing at the government level.

    • Benett Kessler March 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      I am referring to the health insurance industry. I am also aware that Medicare has handed down rules to hospitals that have made life very difficult.

    • Ken Warner March 27, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      The NIH is not a business. It is an agency of the U.S. Dept. of Health. It is a source for funding for research institutions.

      Could some of you at least try to get your facts right before writing?

      • Benett Kessler March 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

        Could you be a little less condescending and more willing to be a partner in helpful information?
        Also – our local hospitals do the best they can under difficult circumstances and changing government regulations are not helping.
        If you must pick on someone, make it Congress.

        • Ken Warner March 28, 2014 at 9:40 am #

          I am in no way descending to the level of the maroons you patronize here.

          [kon-duh-send] Show IPA
          verb (used without object)
          to behave as if one is conscious of descending from a superior position, rank, or dignity.
          to stoop or deign to do something: He would not condescend to misrepresent the facts.
          to put aside one’s dignity or superiority voluntarily and assume equality with one regarded as inferior: He condescended to their intellectual level in order to be understood.
          Obsolete .
          to yield.
          to assent.

          • Benett Kessler March 28, 2014 at 8:29 pm #


          • Reality Check March 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

            Ahh, classic Ken Warner. When you can’t win the debate with facts or logic, call people names! Great Ken, but you left out the trump card. You forgot to call everyone racists.

            How do people tell if they are a Maroon? Is it a color thing? If so, you are a racist!

          • Desert Tortoise March 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

            Bugs Bunny Ms. Kessler. Wadda Maroon.

          • John Barton March 29, 2014 at 8:48 am #

            Like a cornered, scared dog, Ken huddles in the corner trying to show his little sharp teeth by opening a dictionary only to confirm the definition fits him. Like a troll under the bridge throwing names and one-liners at pedestrians of no value, he hurls out nonsense and the crowd responds with resounding thumbs down…. only to retreat and wait for the next passing thread.

      • Reality Check March 27, 2014 at 6:23 pm #

        Guies where NIH funding comes from Ken. No not the money fairy.

      • my395 March 27, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

        I believe the NIH reference above was to Northern Inyo Hospital.

      • Joe March 28, 2014 at 9:07 am #

        KEN- Wow, you’re something else. NIH is Northern Inyo Hospital.

  8. Ken Warner March 27, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    “The Emergency Department and Orthopedics drive some measurability of profit. With the Mountain down very significantly,” he said, “our numbers are down. Healthcare is a function of people in town.”

    This is what I hate about health care in America. It’s a for profit industry run by ghouls. The translation of the above quote is, “…we need more hurt people…” I hate that.

    Why not give everybody a paid day off to say, “Thanks for working so hard to help so many people.”

    • Benett Kessler March 27, 2014 at 11:19 am #

      The answer to your question is hospitals run similar to businesses. They can’t operate for long in the red.
      Complete health care reform would have to come before that changes.

      • Ken Warner March 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

        That doesn’t answer my question it just reinforces my views. Health care should not be a business. There are people making really good money off injured, sick and dieing people who never even get close to them. That’s not right.

        • Benett Kessler March 27, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

          Totally agree. Too bad Congress didn’t vote in a single payer system or medicare for all and work to take the profit motive out of health care.

          • Ken Warner March 27, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

            I was hoping for Medicade to be made open to everybody. But it’s not hard to figure out why it wasn’t done.

            The health care lobby appears to be very powerful and it manipulates both parties to the extreme.

          • Reality Check March 27, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

            Interesting theory Ken. Where does to money come fro, the Health Fairy?

    • Reality Check March 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      The hospital has to survive and function in the real world Ken. Your world does not exist.

      • Ken Warner March 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

        You are so wise. Never thought of it that way.

    • Greg Young March 27, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

      Go ahead and rant about this Ken Warner. Pretty good medical services for “ghouls”. Even in a lean year like this one they see thousands of patients a year just in the ER alone. Hope you never need their “for profit services”, but if you do, it will be some of the best in the nation.

      Quote from Mammoth Hospital website:

      Mammoth Hospital is proud to announce it has been named a 2013 Beacon of Excellence Award winner and a Guardian of Excellence Award winner by Press Ganey Associates Inc. These awards recognize the Emergency Department for excellence in patient satisfaction as measured through survey results.

      This will be the third year that Mammoth Hospital’s Emergency Department has received a Press Ganey award for maintaining a patient satisfaction rating of above 95%. The hospital is particularly proud that the Emergency Department received two awards this year. The Guardian of Excellence Award is for high patient satisfaction scores throughout the past year. Additionally, the Beacon of Excellence Award was only given to three Emergency Departments in the country for sustaining exceptionally high patient satisfaction scores for three years in a row.

      • Reality Check March 27, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

        Great post Greg! In Ken’s world the facts don’t exist.


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