Healthcare is one of the largest employers in the U.S., especially in rural towns. Healthcare, even in times of economic upheaval, has been a job producer, employing medical staff, administrative personnel and facilities services providers.[i] As an employer and as a caretaker for its residents, these hospitals stand as an anchor for the community.
Many community healthcare providers, however, have struggled financially, with the rate of closings growing over the past decade.[ii] Because these community-based hospitals often serve economically disadvantaged populations, they depend greatly on state and federal funding via Medicaid and Medicare. Any large impact to these programs, which is on the agenda of the current administration, could be extremely disruptive to the hospitals and the communities they serve.
Community hospitals have unique challenges
It's a situation faced by many hospitals across the country, including those that are TPC Members. Because of the role these hospitals play in their community, TPC is committed to helping them sustain their independence and grow their opportunities. Their challenges are unique compared to large, revenue-rich health systems. TPC understands these challenges.
Independent hospitals serve more than 62 million Americans. Sadly, while this is a large number of patient lives, these hospitals typically do not have the power of larger IDNs to negotiate with insurance companies or lobby the halls of Washington. With so much on the line, many community-based hospitals have been pressured to merge with larger regional or national systems. That can mean significant cuts to services, a reduced workforce, and a whole new set of restrictions and regulations operating within a bloated corporate structure. Still worse, some facilities have been forced to close their doors altogether.
Fortunately, there is a path to better financial management for standalone healthcare facilities. By joining TPC, independent hospitals can band together to have a stronger voice and find economies of scale to help bottom line – ultimately benefitting the patients and communities they serve.
The Face of a TPC hospital
Baxter Regional Medical Center, in northern Arkansas, is a TPC Member. Since 2006, Baxter has found operating margins near breakeven; meaning budgets didn’t have the luxury of expanding. And as of now, any major disruption in healthcare legislation could be devastating to hospital operations.[iii] Threats like these are always looming for standalone organizations. Will they be able to pay for supplies? Get the correct payments from the government and insurers? Prevent layoffs? They are the everyday concerns.
While there are outside forces that hospitals may not be able to influence heavily, they can focus their efforts on containing costs, driving efficiencies and optimizing performance from within their organization. And fortunately, they don’t have to do it alone. They have the opportunity to collaborate with likeminded facilities who are facing similar challenges. Together they can discover solutions and determine how best to thrive in the volatile marketplace.
Just as community hospitals support and sustain their town or county, TPC does the same for the institution. There is strength in numbers. TPC provides the framework for community healthcare providers to collaborate for better financial outcomes. With TPC, they can develop supply chain initiatives, purchased service strategies and revenue cycle programs.
Through their engagement with TPC, Baxter Regional has realized more than $6 million in total value over the past three years – a considerable amount for a facility of their size. Baxter Regional continues to maintain their independence. This keeps jobs in the county and appropriate care open to the public.
The TPC community offers strength in numbers
TPC was formed with the premise of giving a voice to smaller, independent health systems. Small towns are important to the character of the country and to TPC. When we help hospitals create operational efficiencies and reduce costs, it’s more than just lines on a balance sheet, it’s jobs, families staying together and the sick getting care they need.
Baxter is the face of a TPC hospital, one we are proud to be associated. At TPC, we live by: Stronger Together. Superior Results. Visit our Member page to see the hospitals that represent our community.