Moab Regional Hospital (MRH) was recently named one of the Top 100 critical access hospitals in the United States by iVantage Health Analytics.
Moab Regional Hospital scored in the top 100 nationally of critical access hospitals on the iVantage Hospital Strength Index. According to iVantage, The index is the industry’s most comprehensive rating of U.S. acute care hospitals, and the only one to include the country’s 1,332 critical access hospitals. The results recognize that these hospitals provide a safety net to communities across rural America – measuring them across 66 different performance metrics, including quality, outcomes, patient perspective, affordability, population risk and efficiency.
“(Rural health care) plays a vital role for communities across America, serving nearly 80 million people,” iVantage executive vice president John Morrow said. “The services provided in rural America are similar to those needed in any major metropolitan area, yet the volumes and economic resources provide little economies of scale, making for little benefit from scale. These top 100 critical access hospitals exhibit a focused concern for their community benefits and needs, regardless of scale, reimbursement and people’s ability to pay.”
MRH chief executive officer Robb Austin said the physicians and staff at MRH are dedicated to the mission to put the patient first, deliver quality cost-effective care and promote wellness.
“This is the second national award that Moab Regional Hospital has received this year, and while the first award recognized the hospital’s significant financial improvement over the last two years, this award recognizes affordability and scope of services; merits which are important to our patients,” he said.
MRH chief financial officer Craig Daniels said it typically costs more for rural hospitals to provide care using the same equipment at the same cost as in urban areas, but with a smaller volume of usage. To ensure that their charges for services were competitively priced and fair, MRH hired Eide Bailey, an independent firm, to perform a review of their pricing compared to other regional hospitals, including St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
Over the last two years, MRH has worked on improving its financial aid program, community relations director Jen Sadoff said. The hospital’s financial aid program consists of a sliding fee scale based on family size.
“A lot of times with financial aid programs, you have to be at 100 percent of poverty to receive any help,” Sadoff said. “That’s not the case with our program. For instance, a family of four with that makes less than $45,960 would be eligible for some financial aid … A family of four that makes less than $23,550 would potentially be eligible to have their entire hospital bill taken care of.”
To be eligible for financial aid, Sadoff said, a patient must first apply for Medicaid and be denied, which can be a frustrating process. She said MRH brought in an on-site Medicaid eligibility counselor to ease the application process.
In fall 2013, MRH offered four community outreach events to educate people on the Affordable Care Act, three of which helped individuals get signed up for coverage, and one which educated employers on the program’s nuances. The hospital also launched an advertising campaign.
“Whenever there’s something new, you start with education,” Sadoff said. “We want people to be educated about the options they have.”
In addition to its financial aid program, MRH has also launched discount programs for uninsured and cash-paying patients in both mammography and Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI), Sadoff said.
“Access to care is a high priority for Moab Regional Hospital, so we continue to look for opportunities to ensure that community members can afford to access to health care and to improve community health,” she said. “This commitment is demonstrated in the data, which is why MRH received this award.”
Another strategy to improve the scope services, Sadoff said, is to develop a volunteer program. Americorps VISTA volunteer Sarah Shea will spend the next year working on building a volunteer program from the ground up by researching successful programs in place at other hospitals and determining which programs will work best at MRH. Sadoff said she envisions the programs matching assets in the community with people’s health needs, such as volunteer cooks teaching patients with diabetes about healthier eating habits or musicians playing in the lobby.
“Our goal is by the end of the year to have a volunteer program in place in at least some areas of the hospital,” Sadoff said.
Hospital recognized among critical access hospitals for affordability, scope of services.
“This is the second national award that Moab Regional Hospital has received this year, and while the first award recognized the hospital’s significant financial improvement over the last two years, this award recognizes affordability and scope of services; merits which are important to our patients.”