Rural Hospital – Best Practices for Growing Revenue
“Sixty-one rural hospitals have closed; 283 more are on the brink of closure. Since January 2013, more rural hospitals have closed than in the previous 10 years combined … It’s clear continued cuts in hospital payments have taken their toll, forcing closures and leaving many of our nation’s most vulnerable populations without timely access to care.” (www.ruralhealthweb.org)
There are many organizations working hard to raise political awareness of the challenges rural hospitals are facing. Although rural hospitals are facing continued financial and economic pressure, steps can be taken to help rural hospitals sustain profitability by focusing on GROWTH.
It may seem odd to focus on growth with so much cost pressure being applied on hospitals. The simple reality is that many of the hospitals that failed had to close their doors because there were no costs left to cut to remain profitable.
Finding ways to grow revenue and optimize costs is the key. It takes a one-two punch to return to profitability. At NewLight Healthcare, we specialize in helping rural hospitals return to profitability.
Here are a few best practices we use when helping rural hospitals grow their way to profitability:
Start by interviewing your medical staff: More often than not, the medical staffs within your hospital know where the opportunities lie. They work with patients and their families each and everyday and have invaluable insight into new service opportunities and reasons patients do not return. To read more on this, view our article Medical Staff Have the Keys to Success.
Bring in new services the community needs and eliminate those they don’t: Communities go through life cycles. They will go from young to aging and back to young. Through this evolution, their need for services change. Adding in the services they need can invigorate patient volumes and provide opportunities to eliminate the services they don’t need. To read more on this, check out It’s about Services, Services, Services.
Refresh your facilities: Updating your facilities with new paint, furniture, lighting, and signage is an affordable way to physically demonstrate improvement to the community and regain the community’s support. For more on this, read A Fresh Coat of Paint Can Go a Long Way.
Remember your hospital is a brand: Brand image and brand perception matters to hospitals as much as it matters to McDonalds. People desire consistency, quality, and a menu full of items they want. Patients are the same. They want a hospital that consistently provides the standard of care and services they need. When that happens, you gain the support of the community and a loyal patient following. To read more, view Rural Hospitals Are a Brand, and Image Matters.
To learn more about how NewLight Healthcare helps rural hospitals grow to profitability, click here to read our latest case study.