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Hospital CEO says UMC is on the mend

Reported by: Sergio Avila
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Updated: 9/05/2012 11:18 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- For years, University Medical center has been hemorrhaging taxpayer cash losing close to $70 million a year.

CEO Brian Brannman says after some financial reconstructive surgery. They've stopped the bleeding. News 3's Sergio Avila tells us where the healing process goes from here.

“I think we're going to have a really good news story to tell you,” said University Medical Center CEO Brian Brannman talking to Clark County commissioners.

Brannman was asking to hire 20 new doctors that would save the hospital some cash. Those positions had previously been filled by a third party.

“It may be more cost effective for us to hire the physicians than to contract with an independent group to do that,” Brannman said.

The hospital has recently been under the microscope as the county looks for places to cut costs.

For the last couple years the county has used close to seventy million dollars of your money each year to cut the hospital's losses.

Commissioner Lawrence Weekly says that's too much.

“I believe that we're addressing the issue more than we ever have before,” Weekly said. “I believe there's better oversight today than ever before.”

Audits have led to policy changes Brannman says are showing results. He's expecting their losses to shrink between $10 and $20 million with more improvements on the way.

“I don't think we're hemorrhaging money anymore, ” Bannman said.  “I think we have a clamp down on the arteries. I think we're in a process right now where we are in a process right now of getting the blood flow going and getting back on our feet.”

UMC's biggest issue is collecting money from those who can't afford health care. Its emergency room is often used by the poor and uninsured.

Weekly says although they need to control spending, that's an expenditure he thinks is justified.

“Frivolous spending, we need to do away with it,” Weekly said.  “Tremendous outlandish contracts we need to do away with it but just general basic care for basic life, people are OK with that.”

OK with it or not, Weekly says the poor will always be among us and he believes the county has a responsibility to help.

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