Craig Loveless, CEO for Prowers Medical Center, briefed the Lamar City Council, Monday, March 13th on the latest developments at the hospital.
“Our Patient Family Advisory Council is meeting for the first time this month in an effort to improve the general health standards for our area,” he explained, adding this is part of the hospital’s, “We Heard You” campaign which also addresses the patient’s well-being. “Our council is a 60/40 split between the community with six members and four hospital staff and providers. We’ll look at various issues such as patient safety and service, quality of care, navigating the health care system, patient barriers to health care and understanding a new service, the patient’s home call service.”
One area which can help the patient and the hospital is the introduction of some new technology being applied to patient record keeping, a situation that Loveless said needs improvement. “Some of our multiple systems don’t always communicate with each other on a patient’s records and we’ve seen some problems in which a patient is registered three or four times on different record keeping systems. We want to be able to bring all this down to one single file.” The CEO said the goal is to create a transparent process where all the information at the clinic, such as doctor reports, lab reports, x-ray orders, admission and financial forms are all integrated and more easily accessible. Loveless said various vendors are being interviewed and those meetings will be open to area providers. The hospital intends to have a selection finalized in April.
He explained that although the hospital is financially sound, reimbursement from Medicaid and Medicare counts for about one-third of revenue. Loveless said there are accreditation or patient satisfaction surveys that are very strict in their accounting and that can work against hospitals. “We are judged on a scale of from one to four in various areas and the questions for the patient can read, ‘Do you feel your doctor always listens to you’, or ‘Is the hospital always quiet’.” He said, “Anything less than the top box score is not registered and we won’t be credited in that category which translates to no funding for that area.” Loveless continued, “Our last quarterly report had us at 78% on one question, which isn’t really that bad, but that had us nationally, in the 12th percentile which meant it was too low to qualify and that meant no payment.”
He told the council the hospital has contracted with an accreditation company which will perform an unannounced, on-site inspection within the next 30 to 45 days. “We want to keep the bar high for our quality performances and this is one way to improve,” he said. Regarding PMC’s finances in general, “Our cash-on-hand has shown a lot of growth. Last year or so, we were at 61 days where the recommended level for a hospital our size was around 120 days. Right now we’re at 242 days which is a tremendous improvement; about twice the recommended level for an operation our size.” Cash on hand days translates to the length of time a business can operate normally without any inflow of income.
By Russ Baldwin
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