Curbing ED costs could save rural hospitals
A recent study confirms that rural hospitals are threatened by significant financial instability. Out of the country’s 1,844 rural hospitals, 453 are vulnerable to closure. In fact, nearly 50% are operating in the red, and this number is steadily increasing, evidenced by the 39% that were operating in the red in 2015. Since 2010, 120 rural facilities have closed. These closures put patients at risk by limiting access to care, so it’s important to take a look at the challenges these hospitals are facing.
Supporting emergency departments is a top financial burden
The task of supporting emergency departments is cited as a top financial burden for rural hospitals. Christina Campos, administrator at Guadalupe County Hospital in New Mexico, says, "The greatest financial burden to many rural hospitals is supporting a 24/7 emergency department, where standby staffing costs are high, volumes are relatively low and reimbursement comes nowhere near to covering expenses."
Easing the burden
When it comes to the financial burden of staffing emergency departments, the cost of call pay is one factor that can be mitigated with creative compensation strategies. For the past 15 years, MaxWorth has worked with healthcare organizations to design call pay programs that are sustainable and cost-efficient.
The first step in curbing the cost of call pay is to end the single-specialty negotiations that rarely result in positive outcomes. Our Physicians’ Call Committee brings ED physicians together and provides them with the opportunity to share the realities of their call burdens with their peers and administration. Then, committee members work together to create a fairness standard for all call pay rates at their facility. At the end of this process, physicians understand that their compensation arrangement has been determined by a fair and standardized process. This understanding decreases agitation around the issue of call pay.
The program also satisfies physicians’ demands for higher pay by making their existing compensation more meaningful through our Physicians’ Advantage Plan, which allows physicians to invest their compensation on a pre-tax basis.
Long-term sustainability is a financial advantage
To ensure the long-term financial sustainability of the program, we use funding methods that help hospitals offset and recoup a portion of the cost of call pay. This ensures the predictability of the expense, which is paramount to an organization operating on a thin margin.
Controlling the cost of call pay can help ease the financial burden of supporting an emergency department. With fewer financial burdens, rural hospitals have a chance to survive in this environment that has caused so many to close their doors, threatening access to care in our rural communities.
REQUEST OUR WHITE PAPER:
Complete the form below and receive a copy of our latest white paper, Call Pay Solution: Stabilizing call budgets with a fair and sustainable approach
Want to Learn More?
Nurse compensation: Know what benefits matter most Nursing turnover rates are increasing. In 2019, they stood at 18%, and by 2021, they had risen to 22%. Today, that number has reached 37% in some areas. The full extent of the pandemic’s impact on nurse retention is yet to be seen,…
Nursing benefits and the power of appreciation The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 275,000 additional nurses are needed in the workforce. This shortage will likely be exacerbated in the coming years given that one million registered nurses are expected to retire by 2030. Indispensable but undervalued …
Nursing Retention: Tailored benefits may be part of the solution The correlation between nurse-to-patient ratios and patient outcomes has been well documented. So, the growth in nursing turnover is not a good omen for the trajectory of quality of care in America. Our nurses are concerned, and many are making…
MaxWorth Insights: Physician Benefit Plans A conversation with Dr. Tom Oliver MaxWorth Consulting Group, LLC · MaxWorth Insights: Recruiting and Retention with Dr. Oliver Recruiting and Retention in Today’s Market Physician recruitment and retention has never been more challenging. But there are many ways healthcare organizations can distinguish themselves in the…