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|Articles - July/August 2014|
|Friday, July 11, 2014|
Page 3 of 6
Building a Nimble Hospital
If the ACA improves access to preventive care, fewer people will need to visit the ER or be admitted to the hospital. From a Hippocratic perspective, lower hospital utilization is a good thing, says Davidson. “If you’re keeping people healthier, you’re keeping them out of the hospital, so you’re ultimately having less cost on the system. That’s awesome.”
But from a business standpoint? Not so good. Hospitals have large fixed costs: property maintenance, food service, laundry. If revenues go down, it will be difficult to lower expenses to match. “Hospitals can change,” Davidson says, “but they’re like battleships: You turn the wheel, and it sometimes takes a mile or two to actually turn.”
ER visits are actually up, Davidson notes, due to pent-up demand from previously uninsured people. But hospitals are preparing for a future drop in patient volumes by developing more efficient, standardized processes and considering ways to “re-deploy” their staff. “If you reduce volume, it’s going to have an impact on how many employees you need,” Davidson says. “You’ve got to start thinking about how to retrain people to do other things.”
Recent data from the Oregon Employment Department shows although the state’s health care industry as a whole has been growing, hospital employment has stagnated since 2007 and is projected to grow by a relatively slow 14% between 2012 and 2022.
Financial pressures on hospitals will likely lead to consolidation and collaboration. That’s already happening outside Portland, where some institutions share back-office resources without fully merging. “People are realizing we’ve got to figure out how to deliver coordinated care; we’ve got to figure out how to be more cost effective,” says Jim Diegel, president and CEO of Central Oregon’s St. Charles Health System, which merged with Madras’s Mountain View Hospital last year and entered into a lease agreement with Prineville’s Pioneer Memorial Hospital in 2008. “Smaller organizations, or organizations that don’t have the talent, resources and capital internally, are saying, ‘We need to have a different relationship going forward.’”
For an example, look no further than Prineville. This spring St. Charles, whose revenues grew more than 10% to $556 million in 2013, broke ground on a new $30 million hospital slated to replace Pioneer Memorial in 2015. St. Charles Prineville will be two-thirds the size of its predecessor. It will have 20% fewer beds, and MRIs will be performed by a contractor in a trailer that will also serve St. Charles’s Madras hospital. The lean design of the new facility anticipates the industry’s shift away from acute care, explains Bob Gomes, CEO of St. Charles Bend and St. Charles Redmond: “We’re building our infrastructure looking to where health care is going, not where it is today.”
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE
Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
More than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
BY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
We didn’t intend this issue to have an election season theme. But politics has a way of seeping into the cracks and fissures.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
In our cover story this month, Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, discuss their rapidly growing businesses and Portland’s red hot food scene. The conversation provides an interesting lens through which to explore trends in the grocery store and restaurant sectors.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
BY DIANE BUISMAN
Some common misconceptions employers have about marijuana.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE
A conversation with Majd El-Azma, president and CEO of LifeWise Health Plan of Oregon, followed by the Healthcare Powerlist.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
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