Some of you saw my post a couple of weeks ago saying that patient accounting people aren't necessarily mad that there's now a health care bill. It seems that health care executives are taking the opposite side on this one.

In a story on Healthcare Finance News, it seems that around 3/4ths of all the executives they polled have problems with this bill. Supposedly, they believe that health care overall will suffer because of the bill.

The poll was conducted by ANM Healthcare, a health care staffing and management services company, which seems like an unlikely source to be doing a poll like this in the first place. Their study indicates that 60% of the health care executives believe the reform bill will have a detrimental effect on their facilities ability to take care of patients. It also said only 22% of the executives polled believed this bill would help their hospitals, compared to 72% who felt the other way.

So what's the problem? It seems that the hospitals against the policy believe that there will be an increased demand for services if more people have health care coverage, and that will mean hiring more nurses and clinicians to take care of the overload. To me, this isn't a quality issue; it's a monetary issue, and thus it makes the health care executives look disingenuous.

I'm going to cut them kind of a break, but only because I kind of understand, even if I believe the study came to the incorrect conclusion. What hospitals have been trying to do over the last 10 years is control costs. They've reduced staff as much as state and federal regulations will allow them to do. They try to move patients in and out as quickly as possible because it means less expenses, plus the dollars they get paid, which are paltry by comparison to other industries, go further. Hospitals like the idea of more patients and more services being done, but don't like the idea of having to increase staff to handle the overload.

Of course it's a ridiculous argument overall. They're speculating on something that's never been proven to occur in the past. When more people started getting insurance coverage as part of negotiated union packages, it didn't mean everyone suddenly started running to the hospital or their physicians for frivolous services.

As a matter of fact, doctors still lament that most males wait until things are at their worst before going to see a doctor, instead of giving the doctors a better chance of taking care of something before it gets worse. Doctors love patients who have the ability to pay, and many of them are ready to absorb new patients without having many worries about whether they can handle them or not; it's not like they'll all be arriving on the same day.

I think the study has either been misinterpreted, the questions asked improperly, or CEOs aren't seeing this as the monetary boom they've kind of been waiting for. Sure, some states like New Jersey live off bad debt, but states like New York don't. More money in the coffers because more people have insurance; that's the smart way to go.