Thursday, December 14, 2017
Health

Q&A: Morton Plant North Bay Hospital administrator discusses health care

NEW PORT RICHEY — Michael Yungmann said he enjoyed his job as CEO of a 300-bed hospital in Petersburg, Va. But the tug of family pulled this Florida man home after about 3½ years. In January, he was named the new administrator for Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.

"Virginia was really nice," the 49-year-old said. "But I wanted to be back in central Florida."

Yungmann's roots here run deep. His parents are retired educators. Janet Yungmann-Barkalow was longtime principal at J.D. Floyd Elementary School. His father, the late Martin Yungmann, served as principal at Hernando High School, his son's alma mater, and as facilities director in the district office. After graduating from the University of Florida, Michael Yungmann earned his MBA from Saint Leo University. He also worked five years in administration at the 120-bed Pasco Regional Medical Center, now Bayfront Health Dade City.

Yungmann recently sat down with the Tampa Bay Times to talk about North Bay and changes in health care. Questions and answers have been paraphrased for brevity and clarity.

Why do hospitals charge so much for services if that's not the real price? Why can't bills reflect the true cost?

There is no short answer to that question. It's rooted in a system of complex billing and charges. So much is dictated by insurance contracts. It's kind of like the United States tax code. We only collect a small percentage of actual charges on a bill.

How committed is North Bay to the New Port Richey area?

We are very committed to the city and have invested more than $80 million since 2010.

The government recently released information showing what health care providers charge Medicare for services. What do you think about the greater emphasis on transparency in health care billing?

As a consumer of health care, I think it's great.

Medicare is changing the fee-for-service system in favor of one that rewards hospitals for efficiency and penalizes for high re-admission rates. How do you expect North Bay could be affected?

With our demographics, we do face some challenges. (Charity care increased from $9 million to $17 million from 2012 to 2013.) We try to offer followup services such as home health care and follow up through our primary care physician network, and we work closely with Good Samaritan Clinic and Premier Community Healthcare Group.

Does North Bay have any plans to deliver babies again as the population gets younger?

No. We have invested in the services we are providing. We have some pretty big projects in the works. We have expanded our cardiovascular center, our surgery center, and are expanding and renovating our Mitchell Rehabilitation Hospital. It's the only inpatient rehabilitation center in Pasco County to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Services.

How has the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, affected North Bay?

It's still too early to tell. Florida did not expand Medicaid, but we do have federal navigators here to help patients sign up for any health insurance they may qualify for.

Contact Lisa Buie at [email protected] or (813) 909-4604. Follow @Lisa_Buie.

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