Navicent CEO talks Obamacare and ER wait times

Navicent CEO talks Obamacare, rural areas

MACON, GA.-- - Doctor Ninfa Saunders has been the CEO at The Medical Center Navicent Health since 2012. Along the way, both the hospital and Dr. Saunders have won many awards. Saunders started her career as a nurse 42 years ago.

Navicent CEO Ninfa Saunders does not mind taking a few minutes out of her busy day to spend time with her littlest patients over at the Children's Hospital.

Though she is not making the rounds in the halls anymore, she is helping out in a different way now, things like linking up with smaller area hospitals in an effort to keep their doors open.

"In the last 5 to 7 years, 5 or 6 hospitals have closed and they're all small town hospitals. Our partnership with close to 32 counties has been around beyond my time. Many of those patients, when they need advanced care come to us for that care. It's important for us to be able to let them take care of their patients locally,” says Saunders.

She says she expressed in the General Assembly the need for special grants as funding for those hospitals and keeping more physicians. When asked about Obamacare, Saunders says it has been costing the hospital millions.

"From 2013 to 2016, it's taken $65 million out of our revenue. The revenue is going down and the reimbursement is going down and we want health care to be affordable,” explains Saunders.

She says just for 2017, Obamacare will cost them another $27 million. Saunders says emergency room wait times are an area they are constantly looking to improve.

"We just opened the pediatric emergency room so that the children are separated from the adults. We have a trauma bay. We have people just going to a fast-track process to make sure we can fast-track the patients,” says Saunders.

She says if more people with more minor ailments went to places like the Urgent Care, it might relieve traffic for more of their trauma victims, but she says a key to solving many of those nationwide hospital issues is getting more people working in the medical field.

Ninfa Saunders and Navicent have won many awards including 2017's Most Influential Women by CEO Connection and 2017's Most Wired Advanced Hospital.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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