November 24, 2015

Q&A: The Challenges Facing Rural Healthcare (Part 2)

This article is Part 2 of our three-part series; find Part 1 here. We had the opportunity to interview D. David Sniff, Senior Advisor & Consultant and Roger L. Holloway, Senior Healthcare Consultant on the challenges facing rural healthcare systems.

COORS: With all of these challenges, what are some of the options available to CAHs or other rural hospitals?

 S&H: There are a number of factors that may be influenced with internal or external resources. Though there are many options, few are easy, but all can influence the destiny for these hospitals. One of the most obvious, fundamental factors in a hospital’s success is based upon the idea of “No hospitals, no doctors. No doctors, no hospital.” It’s a two-edged sword.

Plus, if you portray the state of rural hospitals to be “doom and gloom”, recruiting quality prospects becomes more difficult, which is why an aggressive, well-orchestrated provider assessment and recruiting plan is a must.

COORS: Where are the best opportunities to impact costs?

 S&H: The single biggest expense item for a hospital is labor and benefits costs, followed by supplies and materials. Additionally, reducing and adding personnel due to turnover is very costly and distracts leadership from day-to-day challenges. Two-thirds of a hospital’s budget is labor and benefits, making them the most likely targets for cost reductions. The difficulty to recruit and retain qualified employees is compounded by high turnover rates for CEOS and other difficult to recruit professionals. From payroll to an organization’s culture, instability in the workforce can be devastating. In rural hospitals, the workforce is often referred to as a “family” in the literal sense; neighbors, husbands, wives, cousins, children, grandparents, in-laws, etc. are all often part of the workforce. There are ways to deal with workforce challenges with appropriateness and dignity.

 Stay tuned for Part 3 of this three-part series. COORS Rural Healthcare Solutions has the resources and decades of experience needed to consult and provide practical solutions for those facing the challenges in rural healthcare. Through a no obligation, no fee phone consultation call or email, we invite you to discover if we can be of assistance to your organization.



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