This week is National Hospital Week – seven days to spend celebrating hope and healing, according to the American Hospital Association – and seven days to celebrate the women and men who support the health and wellbeing of our communities.
Despite the many challenges hospital face today, their commitment remains unshakable: to provide a wide array of benefits tailored to the particular needs of the communities they proudly serve.
We know how important hospitals are to the patients they serve, but they also play a major role in the social and economic vitality of their respective communities – particularly in high-poverty areas. In fact, in each of the largest twenty U.S. cities, a health system is among the top-ten private employers, including institutions of higher learning and medical facilities, which account for some of the largest private employers in America’s largest cities.
Unfortunately, nearly 25% of America’s rural hospitals are at risk of closing – that’s more than a fifth of the nation’s hospitals and they’re near insolvency, according to a report from Navigant. Many of these hospitals are employing new ideas within their communities to stem the tide, including using home health agencies as a key part of care. Once considered the competition, home health agencies are often being tapped in rural areas to assist with patient care and ensure patients aren’t admitted to hospitals again and again. An article published by NPR highlights several programs, including one at Livingston Regional Hospital in Tennessee. Tim McGill, CEO of Livingston, says, “When I started almost 40 years ago, the mission was different. We wanted patients in the hospital. That was the incentive. We were paid for it. Now you're not."
In previous years, hospitals ran on a “fee-for-service” model that allowed no limits on how many times a hospital could see a patient. That model is transitioning to one where hospitals are now rewarded for safety and efficiency, which usually results in patients spending less time in the hospital.
If you’re at the hospital, it might be the worst day of your life. You’re likely scared, confused, and emotionally drained. Imagine working at the hospital every day. We often take for granted all of the people who make a hospital work: physicians, nurses, PAs, therapists, and so many people who manage everything from clerical work, to information technology, to food services, to pharmacies, to janitorial staff. These folks work tirelessly to care for their patients in an increasingly complex, inefficient, and stressful environment.
So, this week we offer thanks to everyone at the 6,210 U.S. hospitals for your hard work and dedication. We’re honored to work with people who make us proud.
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