Grays Harbor Community Hospital jobs at risk over efficiency

The Grays Harbor Community Hospital announced that due to decreased volumes at their facilities, and to lower than needed efficiency rates, some jobs will be reduced.

“Over many years, with the best of intentions, we have added people and resources to our hospital, but our volumes have steadily decreased. This has created a serious situation that must be fixed immediately.”

The hospital is working with consulting group Navigant to look at each department to determine what changes can be made to ensure the hospital is operating correctly. This includes proposing changes that can be made both in the short and long term.

In a release, they say that a “rapid assessment of productivity benchmarks” has been done, and it found that to achieve a higher percentage of efficiency, a reduction in staff is necessary.

Starting Monday, March 12, departments within the hospital will be assessed and required to show their plans for meeting benchmarks.

“We will be transparent in our communications, sending weekly updates to providers, staff and the media to keep everyone informed of our actions. All appropriate measures are being taken to assure this reduction in force is done in the most compassionate manner. These swift, measured decisions are not taken lightly but are mandatory for financial stability.”

Navigant was brought into the facility following the recent projections of an $8 million shortfall in 2017. This deficit has been attributed to a rising number of patients using government medical and the reimbursement for these costs being at 40% of the total funds.

In the recently passed State Operating Budget, the hospital will be eligible for funding through June 30, 2019. According to the hospital, this would increase reimbursement levels to approximately 60% of the total cost for procedures.

In the budget, it states that as of June 30, 2019 the hospital must return to the payment levels in place as of January 1, 2018 and they may not use the reimbursement level for inpatient beds.

In September of last year, the hospital made changes to move from a 140-bed Sole Community Hospital to a 49-bed Sole Community Hospital. This change does not remove space for patients, but adjusts the number of inpatient vs observation beds at the facility. Both patient types feature different reimbursement levels.

CEO Tom Jensen told KXRO that changing the designation to a 49-bed Sole Community Hospital would mean that Medicare would be on a “cost-based reimbursement”. This means if the hospital has a $1000 bill to Medicare, the hospital would receive $1000 instead of the portion of that bill as it does currently.

While the hospital will operate as the new designation starting in October, the official designation will only be after federal agencies review and approve the change, which could take up to 2 years.

Jensen told KXRO that this new state funding is only available because the hospital became a public entity and other changes. He tells KXRO that with the state funding, the proposed change to a 49 inpatient bed facility, and other adjustments, he feels that the hospital can achieve full reimbursement levels.

 

Language in the State Operating Budget as passed:

$1,400,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2019 and $3,900,000 of the general fund—federal  appropriation are provided solely to increase the rates paid to rural hospitals that meet the criteria in (hhh)(i) through (iv) of this subsection. Payments for state and federal medical assistance programs for services provided by such a hospital, regardless of the beneficiary’s managed care enrollment status, must be increased to one hundred fifty percent of the hospital’s fee-for-service rates. The authority must discontinue this rate increase after June 30, 2019, and return to the payment levels and methodology for these hospitals that were in place as of January 1, 2018. Hospitals participating in the certified public expenditures program may not receive increased reimbursement for inpatient services. Hospitals qualifying for this rate increase must:

  • Be certified by the centers for medicare and medicaid services as sole community hospitals as of January 1, 2013;
  • Have had less than one hundred fifty acute care licensed beds in fiscal year 2011;
  • Have a level III adult trauma service designation from the department of health as of January 1, 2014; and
  • Be owned and operated by the state or a political 16 subdivision.

The post Grays Harbor Community Hospital jobs at risk over efficiency appeared first on KXRO News Radio.

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