Creative Partnership Maintains Community Hospital
By: Christopher Schoeplein
(HFMA Summer 2018)
In April 2017, the city of Topeka, Kansas, faced the potential shutdown of St. Francis Hospital, one of only two hospitals serving the residents of its community. A hospital closure can cause significant repercussions to the surrounding area. The results are well documented and have been witnessed many times across the country. In the case of St. Francis Hospital, access to care would have been significantly diminished with the loss of a major healthcare provider that has more than 9,000 inpatient stays and 34,000 emergency department visitors annually. In addition, the hospital contributes significantly to the local economy by employing 1,600 workers.
St. Francis’s unfortunate situation is reflective of four trends related to the current wave of hospital consolidation activity.
- Many community hospitals are facing significant financial challenges and ultimately the threat of closure.
- Large systems are divesting assets in regions or states where they cannot achieve adequate scale or market share.
- Consolidation activity involving academic medical centers (AMCs) and teaching hospitals has doubled over the past five years as they attempt to extend their reach and gain scale.
- Healthcare systems are being pushed to pursue non-traditional alignments to address consolidation opportunities.