Blog

Valuing Relationships through a Storm

Proud to serve residents of Beaumont, Texas and surrounding areas, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas’ employees, physicians, and volunteers share a vibrant bond with our community — a heartfelt connection which became evident earlier this year in the face of Hurricane Harvey. Although hurricanes are not new to the city of Beaumont and surrounding communities on the Texas Gulf Coast, we won’t forget Harvey. We remember vividly the teamwork and community cooperation.

Hurricane Harvey roared ashore at the end of August 2017 becoming a tropical depression as it moved inland....


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How LTACHs Help Local Communities

A healthy culture, local relationships, and specialty services are a winning combination for Carolinas ContinueCARE Hospitals. These distinctions are the foundation for long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) success for us locally and can help other facilities as well. LTACHs support community hospitals by extending the continuum of care, reducing acute care length of stay, and providing the best possible setting for fragile patients with complex medical needs.

LTACHs bridge the gap to recovery for patients often following an ICU or traditional acute care hospital stay. After admission to one of...


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Long-Term Acute Care Moves Forward: Moratorium ended

It’s gratifying to see first-hand how patients with critical and complex needs improve—thanks to long-term acute care hospitals or LTACHs.

And now, since the Moratorium restricting LTACHs officially ended on September 30, 2017, more patients will have greater availability to be cared for in the specialized care setting of an LTACH. With the Moratorium sunset, LTACH growth opportunities are expected to blossom.

Patient success stories abound. One example shared with me about a patient at one of CHC’s 11 LTACHs is particularly memorable. A gentleman in his 40s experienced a...


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Opportunities for Critical Access Hospitals

Since 2010, 81 rural hospitals have closed in the United States with another 673 at risk, endangering the health of individuals, families, and communities. Nearly 30 million people don’t live within an hour of trauma care. In fact, residents living in 16% of the mainland United States are 30 miles or more away from the nearest hospital. The rate of accidental deaths adjusted for age was nearly 50% higher in rural versus urban areas from 1999 to 2015 according to a CDC study, which also noted that long travel distances...


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Telecommunications Savings: Rural Health Care Program Update

One line-item expense in every hospital budget regardless of facility size or location is telecommunications. Why do rural hospitals tend to pay more for telecom services than their urban counterparts? Carriers are able to charge for the expense of installing and maintaining communications to rural areas. Fortunately, reduced rates for broadband and telecom services are available to rural providers through the Rural Healthcare Telecommunications (RHC) Program, a federal program supporting universal service and access throughout the country. It includes two subprograms, the Healthcare Connect Fund (HCF) Program and the Telecommunications...


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Mock Surveys – A Best Practice

Hospital accreditation is considered a standard of excellence for safe, high-quality care. Accreditation helps organize and strengthen patient safety efforts, improves risk management and risk reduction, and provides deeming authority for Medicare certification.

Mock surveys are a best practice to keep hospitals in a “stay ready” mode for an actual survey from a state survey agency on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) or accrediting organizations such as The Joint Commission or the Center for Improvement in Healthcare Quality (CIHQ). The good news – proactive community...


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How-to Basics for an Effective Hospital Compliance Program

As healthcare becomes more complex, there is also more emphasis being placed on financial considerations, and on preventing and detecting violations of state and federal healthcare laws. What can your hospital do? Start by creating a compliance program to self-police your hospital and staff activities.

Since its inception in 1976, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has led the charge to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and more than 100 other HHS programs. In 2010, as...


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Rethinking Supply Costs: Good to Great

Many rural hospitals today — health care providers whose mission is to serve their community’s health care needs — are apprehensive about their own financial health. Increasing expenses, decreasing reimbursement and declining patient populations and hospital admissions place these hospitals at risk, threatening financial viability.

Behind salaries, supplies are the second-highest expense for hospitals. By reducing supply costs and better managing the supply chain, a hospital can move its savings margin from good to great.

CHC Supply Trust, the supply chain services arm of Community Hospital Consulting, works with hospitals...


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Negotiating Health Plan Contracts: Best Practice Tips

For hospitals, “care” typically refers to providing patient care. Yet a hospital’s financial health requires care and attention, too.

A sound financial strategy supports the provision of patient care and services communities need, and a significant component of healthcare organizations’ revenue frequently comes from health plan contracts.

So what do your health plan contracts look like? Have you reviewed them recently? Are there opportunities to modify those arrangements to maximize your reimbursement?

Here are some best practice tips for health plan contracting.

Review your health plan contracts regularly –...


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Billing and Collections: Whether or Not to Outsource

Many rural hospitals find it a struggle to achieve positive cash flow and maintain enough days cash on hand to meet their capital and operational needs. This intensifies the importance of ensuring that patient accounting processes, especially billing and collection, are performing at optimal levels.

One option many turn to for managing this process is to outsource billing and collections functions. This effort may be seen as a way to improve accurate and timely billing of patient accounts, lower costs, and improve collections. The CHC Consulting Revenue Cycle team is...


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