After a challenging 12 months, Heart of America Medical Center has turned the corner financially.
“It’s been a very difficult road to travel, each and every staff member has made sacrifices in one way or another. We’ve made a great deal of progress right-sizing the organization and becoming more efficient. Going forward, it will always be a part of the way we do business.” Says Patrick Branco, CEO at HAMC.
For this turn-around to be possible, HAMC hired interim expert, professional consultants to assist during the transition. Their experience in similar, challenging financial situations is what has helped HAMC identify areas for improvement.
Another key to resolving some of the financial issues was funding that passed through Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation. The HAMC Auxiliary played an important role in assisting departments with tools they needed to better perform their job duties. The Volunteer program was also looked upon to ensure quality customer service continued.
At the end of 2017, Medicare withheld nearly $800,000 from reimbursements from HAMC which had a significant impact on the organization. Since then, Medicare has reevaluated the withholding and will reimburse nearly $400,000 back to HAMC.
Hiring has resumed for front line staff as well as leadership positions. The organization has hired a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who is scheduled to start the middle of June.
Collecting co-pays and deductibles from patients at the time of service has made a positive difference in the business office. There are fewer collection accounts and fewer statements being sent, all which save the hospital money.
“I have seen an increase of employee awareness of patient needs. They realize more than ever how vital this hospital is to the surrounding communities. Healthcare is the most complicated industry in the world and our employees are taking on the challenge of understanding this complexity and making our healthcare system work.” Adds Erik Christenson, PharmD and Chief Operations Officer at HAMC.
The steady and higher than normal patient census’s reported in the clinic and hospital show that the community is supportive and needs the organization to succeed.
The pursuit for 3D mammography equipment has begun through grant writing and fundraising. This service will ensure continuity of care for area women.
“I think the big positives are we have ‘caught up’ on outstanding bills owed and are current with accounts payable, right now we are on track to see a breakeven year which has not happened here in the last 20 years. We will continue to evaluate all service lines to ensure we are providing the best services to our patients, keeping them at the forefront of what we are doing here. We will continue to look for ways to expand services available to patients where feasible. Healthcare is ever changing and we want to be sure we do not fall behind the changes, while ensuring the financial success of the organization.” Adds Dustin Hager, PA-C, and Chief Medical Officer at HAMC.
Branco says “There’s a growing sense of stability, we are able to focus on our strengths and continue to provide high quality patient care.”