How technology upgrades sparked a financial resurgence at two rural hospitals

From FierceHealthcare:

On his second day as CEO of Coteau des Prairies (CDP) Health Care System in Sisseton, South Dakota, Michael Coyle had to borrow $500,000 to make payroll. That was just the start of the hospital’s financial struggles.

CDP is a 25-bed critical access hospital located about 160 miles north of Sioux Falls on the edge of the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation. When Coyle arrived in December 2014, the hospital faced an array of financial issues, most of which were tied to delinquent payments from Indian Health Services. Several years earlier, the hospital saw a massive increase of ER visits after the reservation demolished its hospital and replaced it with a medical clinic.

Throw in an influx of Medicaid patients and lapsed training for billing and coders, and the hospital quickly found itself operating in the red by the time Coyle arrived.

“When you add all that together, we were struggling in the very beginning,” he told FierceHealthcare.

Nearly 800 miles south, Seiling Municipal Hospital in Oklahoma faced similar fiscal distress. When Jennifer Coons came on as CEO 14 months ago, the 18-bed hospital was down to one full-time provider—a 30-year veteran at the facility. The hospital was losing $50,000-$75,000 each month, according to Coons, and it was still using paper charts.

Now, both hospitals have undergone financial turnarounds thanks to an investment in new technology that has helped manage their patient population and provided access to previously untapped data sources that have revealed new opportunities for expansion.

“We’re not rich,” Coons said. “But we’ve made almost a million dollars more this fiscal year than we did the previous fiscal year.”

More here.

 

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