Hospitals Closing At An Alarming Rate
In the last few years, rural hospitals have been closing at an alarming rate. In 2019 alone, 18 community hospitals closed. Since 2010, a total of 119 of these healthcare facilities have shut down. Why are small hospitals closing? What is the solution? Just 1-2 appropriate admissions per week can make a significant difference.
Why are rural hospitals important?
About 1 in 5 Americans live in rural locations. Often, in these areas, the only option for healthcare is the local hospital. However, a variety of factors put these community hospitals at risk of closing. Low patient volume, modest budgets, and a high influx of government payers are just a few of the challenges these facilities face.
Just 1-2 appropriate admissions weekly can help keep rural hospitals open. When patients are admitted incorrectly, the result is higher costs and reduced efficiencies. Both these factors are crucial for reimbursement rates and keeping small hospitals afloat. Additionally, rural areas often struggle with community members utilizing the emergency room for all healthcare needs instead of establishing a relationship with a primary care provider.
How to improve admissions
Often rural communities have smaller populations and a payer mix of mostly Medicare patients. These patients commonly struggle with scheduling follow-up care after visiting the emergency room. Lack of proper follow-up care can put many patients back in the emergency department (ED) unnecessarily. However, when patients have follow-up appointments with a primary care provider, outcomes are better and, often, these patients do not return to the ED.
Exploring remote strategies
Better case management is the key to appropriate admissions. Many rural hospitals are finding success with remote case management teams. These telecase management teams help to triage patients, ensuring that the right patients are placed with the right providers on time. With this solution, rural hospitals can ensure that there are no gaps in coverage, even when the full-time case management team has gone home for the day.
An issue affecting everyone
Across healthcare as an industry, appropriate admissions are a high priority. Improper and repeat admissions contribute to unnecessary costs. And in small hospitals where patient volume is low, statistics can easily get skewed if even 1-2 patients are admitted inappropriately.
Improving your hospital admissions
Better ED management leads to higher rates of appropriate admissions. This one factor is essential in keeping rural hospitals open. Learn more today about how remote case management teams can help save the small hospital.