Nevada Regional Medical Center applies to be filed as a “sole community hospital”

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Executives with Freeman Health System say a change in how Nevada Regional Medical Center receives reimbursements could lead to long-term financial viability.

An application has been filed to designate Nevada’s city-owned hospital as a “sole community hospital.” In essence, it would enhance the reimbursements coming to the hospital for both in and out patient procedures, which would reduce the burden on the city’s budget. And Nevada mayor Brian Leonard says because of how important a hospital is to the community, they have to explore every option for long term financial stability.

“You need to have an emergency room, you need to have a hospital so if you have a heart attack, that way you don’t have to drive for 30 minutes to get service,” says Brian Leonard.

About a year and a half ago, though, there were questions about the long term viability of Nevada Regional Medical Center.

“You have to say it was a very grim picture,” says Leonard.

Since then, Freeman Health System has been brought in to manage the hospital, and Leonard says they’re exploring new ways to make the hospital less of a financial burden to the city. To help do that, Nevada Regional Medical Center has applied to become a “sole community hospital.”

“It’s a Medicare distinction for that facility that goes along with when you are the sole provider in a region, Vernon county, it allows us to file for this status,” says Steve Graddy, Chief Financial Officer, Freeman Health System.

Graddy says that became an option after the closing of Mercy Ft. Scott Hospital.

“When Ft. Scott closed, it’s 17 miles from Nevada, it opened up the opportunity for Nevada Regional to look at this designation,” says Graddy.

Graddy says if approved, the designation could lead to bigger reimbursements, which will help increase the long term viability of Nevada Regional Medical Center.

“This will provide, in our estimate, about $800,000 more a year for the same business they’re doing today, simply as a sole community hospital,” says Graddy.

Leonard says that number could potentially be even bigger.

“We’ve also been told that some of the OB’s are coming over to deliver at Nevada’s hospital, could be another $700,000 coming in just from those in a year’s time, so, you’re looking at $1.5 million that could really help this hospital,” says Leonard.

Graddy says a final answer on the application isn’t expected for roughly 30 days, but he’s confident the designation will be granted. Leonard says a group of concerned citizens, called “the citizens united to strengthen our hospital,” has been formed. Their goal is to find ways to increase revenue at the hospital, which could include fundraising in the future.

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