Slowly, Metro Is Spending Less And Less On Nashville General Hospital | Nashville Public Radio

Slowly, Metro Is Spending Less And Less On Nashville General Hospital

Apr 1, 2019

Nashville General Hospital has recovered some of its financial footing after the threat of closure in late 2017, when the safety-net facility required a cash infusion just to make payroll.

General Hospital is requesting less money from the city next year, bucking the national trend of rising health care costs and reversing years of required supplemental requests to the Metro Council.

During Metro's recent budget hearings, CEO Joseph Webb said General Hospital has been spending money in order to save money. For one, it's purchased dozens of hospital beds so it can stop renting them for $600,000 a year. And it's recruited more doctors and nurses so it can use fewer contractors who cost twice as much.

"The resources that we are putting into place will help us to continue the trend downward. So a portion of this is strategically being done," Webb told Mayor David Briley.

Still, General Hospital is taking care of fewer patients, driven in part by an exodus of physicians when former Mayor Megan Barry floated the idea of closing the in-patient services. To make its projected budget work, the patient census will need to turn around.

But it's asking for a roughly $45 million subsidy, down by about a million dollars from last year.

"I'm conservative. I'd like to think we could achieve these numbers," Bruce Naremore, chief financial officer of General Hospital, said. "The physicians getting in place is probably the biggest driver to our success. The stability around the hospital for the last 12 to 14 months has been a grand benefit to us and our ability to recruit and retain staff."