We Need To Keep Rural Hospitals Afloat
Read Time: 4 minutes The small population base in rural areas often depends on one community hospital for all healthcare needs. Because of this, keeping these rural hospitals afloat is crucial. However, community hospitals often have struggles tied to employee recruitment and retention, budget, and a smaller pool of resources. This list of concerns for the rural hospital means that appropriate admissions are more critical than ever.
The most significant barrier for rural hospitals
One of the biggest challenges to the rural hospital is having a modest budget. According to research, inappropriate admissions can make a big dent in an institution’s budget. Improper admission refers to when a patient receives inpatient care when outpatient care would have been the proper treatment. In many cases, these mistakes are due to unintentional decision-making on the part of the physician, the patient, or both.
Rural hospitals commonly face staffing challenges. These institutions are typically in more remote areas of the country, and recruitment can be difficult. Additionally, a smaller pool of resources means that physicians do not always receive the same type of compensation and extra perks that clinicians get in urban areas. When rural emergency departments are working with a lean staff, appropriate admissions become even more crucial.
Rural populations have unique concerns
In rural communities, patient bases often have more complex medical challenges. The payer mix is often mostly Medicare or Medicaid patients. In many rural areas, patients also struggle to establish a relationship with a primary care provider, meaning that these people present at the ED with conditions that could be treated in a primary care setting.
How can you improve admissions?
Reducing inappropriate admissions needs to be a joint effort. Some strategies that have worked include observation units, incorporating tele-case management, and home healthcare services. Additionally, primary care providers play a crucial role. Many conditions can be treated in the emergency room or urgent care setting, but patients don’t need to be admitted if there is going to be follow-up with a primary care provider. Appropriate primary care can help to reduce costs and keep inappropriate ED admission rates down.
Keep costs low while offering quality care
Proper case management, availability of primary care, and better staffing solutions all help to reduce inappropriate admissions. This is a critical goal for rural hospitals. These institutions need to find ways to improve efficiencies and keep costs low while still providing high-quality care to rural populations. Start the conversation today about strategies that will help to reduce inappropriate admissions.