TMH investigates impact of Valley View closure

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The Memorial Hospital officials are investigating what impact the closure of Valley View Manor will have on hospital revenues.

They don't have the numbers compiled yet, but one thing is certain. There will be an impact.

TMH Administrator Randy Phelps noted that people in a nursing home need a significant amount of healthcare. Should Valley View close in 60 days, which the corporation that owns the home announced Tuesday it intended to do, the residents in the home would be transferred to nursing homes in other communities.

Hospitals in those communities would then provide the healthcare to those residents, taking away the almost 40 residents who were previously treated at TMH.

In addition to the loss of patients, another factor, concerning the amount of money TMH receives for those patients, could be alarming.

Last year The Memorial Hospital converted to critical access status, which makes the hospital eligible for cost based reimbursements from the federal government for Medicare patients.

When the conversion was made, officials projected that it would increase annual revenue by more than $1 million. Should Valley View close, those numbers would take a significant hit, with many of those patients' care paid for by Medicare.

"We're trying to get a figure as we speak on the number of patient days we experience per year so we can plan for the impact," Phelps said Wednesday, the day after the announcement was made that Valley View Manor would be closing its doors in 60 days.

TMH has already been approached about taking over the facility by officials with Mariner Health Care, the company that currently runs Valley View, but there are several concerns that need to be addressed, Phelps said.

"While this sounds good in theory, there is work that needs to be done to see if this is a viable option," he said.

In a press release put out Wednesday, TMH listed several areas that needed to be reviewed.

Areas mentioned, and comments made about those areas included:

  • Financials -- Would it provide continued financial security to bring the two operations together? The financial structure is a complex one and for TMH to assume ownership or management without the knowledge and facts of the current financial structure could place harm on the future of the hospital. This does not mean however it is not workable, more research needs to be done on the financial information in order to determine net operating loss and how it has to be subsidized.
  • A comprehensive study needs to be done on the impact of TMH Medicare reimbursements. There has been some indication that this could seriously affect the hospital cost reimbursement, which would impact the future of the hospital in a negative way.
  • Making sure that the financial demands don't interfere with quality care. If you have a facility, it has to have quality care and treatment. The Memorial Hospital would not even consider operating a facility if the quality of care was not top notch. Are there sufficient resources to provide the care that the residents deserve? The Hospital's Management Company, Quorum Health Resources, is prepared to assist in the analysis of the situation if requested.

A meeting will be held next week amongst various entities in Craig to discuss the issue including TMH, county commissioners, the VNA and any other interested parties.

According to the release put out by TMH, the meeting will explore several options including:

  • If a viable private purchaser is found, The Memorial Hospital will become a partner in helping to support in the continuation of the mission at Valley View Manor to continue to provide quality healthcare in this community.
  • The Memorial Hospital will meet with various representatives to see if there is a public solution. TMH will continue to research the financial analysis, governance and management options, funding options and look at strategic planning for continuance in the community.

Phelps admitted Wednesday that the idea of taking over a business that claimed to be $1 million in the red over the last six months is a bit intimidating.

"It's a very problematic situation and that's why we've added Quorum Health Resources to the mix," he said. "It has considerable experience to slice and dice that information to see what the financial future could be and see if a plan can be determined to turn that around."

Regardless of what decision is made by local officials, the release put out Wednesday by TMH expresses the hospital's concern over the situation.

"The Memorial Hospital would like to give some comfort to families, residents and community members that your community healthcare leaders are deeply troubled to think about a future without a long term health facility," the release states. "There is work that needs to be done. We care about you and your family needs today and in the future."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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