December and the influenza that accompanies the month often means higher patient volumes at the Oconee Medical Center. But not this past December. “We averaged 58 patients per day in the hospital during December, which is unusually low for a winter month when we typically see more illness related to influenza and respiratory ailments in particular,” said Hunter Kome, chief operating officer. And one of the factors that leads OMC to exploratory talks with Greenville Health System is what the health care profession calls “regulatory pressure to reduce readmissions and prevent inpatient stays.” Broken down, this jargon means that insurance considerations continue to drive the length of hospital stays. Is this a sad state of affairs? It’s a question we posed this week to Kome, and his answer can be heard today on 96.3/WGOG NEWS.