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OMC chief fears future of medical provider

March 5th, 2013 - 6:23am

(Port Angeles) -- Olympic Medical Center's CEO said the hospital is in good shape now, but he's worried about the years ahead.

Eric Lewis told the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce yesterday it's becoming increasingly hard to forecast a bright future.

The challenges we face around Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and the industry as a whole, it's not clear if we're going to be viable five years from now," said Lewis. "But I think we're doing the right things today by implementing electronic medical records, recruiting new providers, affiliating with Swedish and other things to position us for the future."

Lewis said keeping afloat economically remains the big problem, with cuts from federal and state dollars being the biggest factor.

"I think both the federal and state budget are out of balance and the're cutting their costs which is our (OMC's) reimbursement, so we get paid less," said Lewis. "We're having to find ways to be more efficient and remain viable. It is very challenging because both Washington, D.C. and Olympia make changes unpredictably and quickly."

Lewis said the major costs in running the hospitals payroll, but at this time, everything is stable.

Meantime, Lewis said OMC is hard at work on the year's biggest project: Implementing a massive electronic medical records program that will link the entire OMC system. Lewis said the new system will save money in the long run.

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