Offering Quality Personalized Healthcare Right Here @ Home

Offering Quality Personalized Healthcare Right Here @ Home

Welcome to VMH! Our Administrator
Our Administrator

We appreciate you stopping by our website for a visit. Whether it is to learn about our services or to find out a little more about who we are, I want to thank you for taking the time. With your feedback and support, we strive to learn better ways of caring for you. Thank you for choosing us for your health care needs. We are here to give you personalized care that is close to home.


Mike Myers, CEO

March 5, 2014

It has been a winter of learning to say the least. We have learned what a “Polar Vortex” is and how to live in way too many days below zero. We have watched and listened to the struggles to implement the next phase of the Affordable Care Act, and we have learned of so many changes that are heading to health care. As Veterans Memorial Hospital works on updating its strategic plan, the big question is about how many years should a strategic plan cover? In the “old days” there were plans that were made for seven years, then it was down to five years, then three and now who knows? The rate of change in payment, insurance coverage, and technology is so rapid and happening so quickly that it is difficult to determine how far into the future we should look.

The approach VMH has taken towards budgeting and strategic planning is one of focusing on sustainability. It is hard to imagine there is a lot of programs or new patients out there just waiting to burst into a hospital. We have made the determination that our current volumes and programming will allow us to be sustainable into the future if there are no drastic changes in our reimbursement. We are also attempting to minimize our charge increases as an ever increasing number of people are controlling how and where they spend their money. Finally, the focus of our planning is always centered around the patients and families we care for. Making people feel cared for is our highest priority, and we will constantly work on doing even better at doing that.

We are fortunate to live in Iowa. As a state there has been a concerted effort to improve quality and reduce costs by reducing or eliminating preventable conditions. For example, we do not routinely use urinary catheters in the hospital. While they provide a measure of comfort for the patient, they also are a potential source of infection as well. As a result of not routinely using catheters unless absolutely necessary, we have greatly reduced the number of urinary tract infections in the hospital. VMH in conjunction with state programs are showing success in providing safe cost effective care.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks to the providers and staff at VMH. Their dedicated efforts make such a positive impact on many people. Thank you to all of you who put your faith and trust in us. We plan on being here a long time to meet the needs of today and future generations.


February 3, 2014

To say the roll out of the highly contested Affordable Care Act did not go smoothly is similar to saying that the texture of sandpaper is rough. With literally years to prepare for a legacy moment, the country was treated to what appeared to be a slapped together mess that would be the entry into the insurance exchanges. It has reignited the debate in regards to the ACA verses the Republican alternative of which there are few details, and no discussion of cost. There are harsh realities out there that cannot be ducked much longer. The Medicare trust fund is racing towards insolvency, the cost of health insurance is approaching the level where  many business owners and families cannot afford it, and the debt quietly continues growing to over $17 trillion dollars. The clock is ticking and the time for political grandstanding or positioning is over. It is time for the elected leaders to lead.

It is telling to see the number of long time politicians deciding to retire. They have either grown tired of the fight or see that political cost of doing what needs to be done is greater than they wish to bear. At least in Iowa we have recognized that there are parts of the ACA that we can use to make care better  for people. Saying yes to Medicaid expansion means billions of dollars directed at the care of a segment of our population that would go without insurance without that assistance. I can only imagine how states which turned their backs on the Medicaid money will get the people covered.  It begs the question as to whether those people elected by the people for the people are really for them. I fail to see how those non Medicaid expanding states can go it alone without all that money without creating a larger burden on the taxpayers.

The sand is running through the hourglass, and the time to fix the shortcomings of our health care system is slipping by. It is time to put politics aside and care for our patients. I am proud of the job all who are associated with VMH do in this regard. Thanks to them our patients leave our doors feeling cared for. It is truly health care done the way it should be.

November 5, 2013

Change no matter how big or how small can be challenging. To go from something that is known and comfortable to a new state of new and uncertain is cause for stress. Take healthcare for example. The change from the former system to the Affordable Care Act shut down the government recently. The change from going to almost 50 million people without insurance to less than half that number is something that some members of Congress are not comfortable with. The days of insurance plans with no deductible or co-pays are gone. The system can no longer support those type of plans. Today, some people will pay more, providers will be paid less, and the system will be forced to change to the new normal.

What that new normal will be is yet to be determined, but there are trends out there that may give a glimpse. The large systems are getting larger with the term patients being replaced with “covered lives”. There are fewer independent hospitals as most look for the comfort of being a part of a system with “covered lives”.

I like to think that there still is a place for the independent, community based hospital where the covered lives have names and faces. Where friends and neighbors work to care for friends and neighbors. Where being a leader in employment and as an economic engine help keep the organization focused on doing the right thing for all the patients they care for because there are no other covered lives outside their service area that they care for.

VMH is proud to be independent. We feel we can provide care to our service area while working with our partners and vendors to meet the healthcare needs of our friends, neighbors, and all who need our help. We will work to always provide the best in service and have our patients leave feeling truly cared for. While change is coming, the art of caring at VMH will never change. Our pledge is that you will always be able to count on us for care.

September 26, 2013

This time of year is a time of change. We change the clocks, the weather changes, and now we will soon change the ability for people to access health insurance. Whether it is being able to afford insurance for the first time, or being able to go online and purchase health insurance the times are a changing. As with any uncertainty there is fear, nervousness, and concern. Already some of the changes have been pushed back for a year, and it gives opponents of this change a chance to push back against it. The reality is that these changes are here, and they are not going anywhere. Even before these changes have been fully implemented, there have been positive impacts to the consumers of health care. The rise in health care costs has decreased, focusing on preventing readmissions to the hospital, and focusing on preventing harm to patients are occurring. Combine that with more people being able to establish a relationship with a local physician, get care locally, and finally be able to afford to provide insurance for their families, you have change for the positive.

People can debate the merits of all this change, but at the end of the day when people can have the burden of paying for health insurance eased it makes for a healthier nation. Now the debate of whether to have a place to stay, a vehicle to drive, and food verses health insurance has been eased. There is no longer any denial of coverage due to preexisting conditions which have prevented people from getting insurance as well.

As the new era of health insurance is ushered in, there will be bumps in the road. However, as with any new program they will be worked out. If we truly want to improve the health status of people in this nation, it starts with this new era of insurance coverage.

We at VMH thank all of you for your support this past year. We have delivered more babies  and cared for more people in our ER than ever before. Your trust and confidence in us is greatly appreciated.

May 29, 2013

In a recent trip to Washington DC I found it interesting that rural health care was being looked at for reductions in payments. It begs the question why? Critical Access Hospital payments from Medicare make up 5% or less of the budget for that program. Yet, the hospitals these payment reductions are aimed at are often one of the largest employers in their community if not their county. The stark reality is that too many cuts will mean that rural America will become an underserved area in terms of health care. Cuts mean reductions in services, reductions in employment, and increased difficulty in recruiting providers. It means that one of the shining beacons of hope and caring in small towns across America are in danger of being extinguished forever.

Rural health care has been there forever. It has complied with quality initiatives, bought the health information systems which may not have been the improvement in care imagined, and provided services to people day or night regardless of ability to pay. So what replaces the multi-million dollar payrolls, the workers, and the indirect revenue that having a small hospital in rural community if it closes? The answer is probably nothing.

One of the statements for rationalizing the looking at Critical Access Hospitals in terms of reductions is that it was because” We haven’t done anything with them in a while”. Perhaps the reason that is so is because they don’t need anything done. They may not have enough volumes in certain areas to be measured on the national quality initiatives, but they care for friends and neighbors like they were friends and neighbors. A person leaves their community based rural hospital feeling like they were care for, because they were. Caregivers know that at some point they will see these patients again in the community. They know that their small markets are important to hold on to, and that every patient through the door of their hospital makes a difference to the wellbeing of the patient, the hospital, and the community.

In other countries with universal health care coverage, they incent providers to work in rural areas with additional pay. It helps draw people who like to work in small communities. It would seem there should be more of that type of incentive rather than further reductions to the revenue streams of rural health care.

Here is hoping that the people in Washington DC understand that the small investment in Medicare dollars into Critical Access Hospitals reaps a big return in the areas they serve.

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