services at the hospital in 2012. “That is a service that is incredibly needed, but very hard to offer. There’s a lot of cost,” says Tim O’Connell, Lincoln Hospital’s chief financial officer. “It was a big impact to our community.” Now, people from the community of about 1,800 have to move farther away from their families if they need round-theclock care as they age. Where possible, Lincoln Hospital is continuing to help those neighbors, O’Connell says, providing relief services as needed to families who have a loved one receiving hospice care at home, and connecting them with other services as they can.
Loves to swim. Brings her dog everywhere. Is Riverview.
FINDING A NICHE
Some rural hospitals are figuring out ways to innovate around those financial landmines where they can. Lincoln can’t keep specialists on staff, but the facility is home to a robot that can move around the facility, enabling specialists in other parts of the state to videoconference in with doctors and patients and provide them with specialized diagnoses without the need to leave Davenport. Meanwhile, farther south in Dayton, after the daily average number of patients dipped too low, that facility started accepting people who might have been denied admission in the past — those who need continued care and specialized nursing or physical therapy. “I think that part of the challenge of rural health care is: Can you find a niche, outside of the standard competitive nature of larger health systems, who are constantly one-upping with diagnostic equipment, or cardiac surgeons?” says McGuire, the Columbia County Health System CEO. For Dayton, the niche has been taking on more bariatric (obese) patients, or intravenous drug users with infections that might require long-term care as they transition out of larger hospitals, from the puzzle on page 13 McGuire says. 8 = B; 9 = E; 21 = K Some hospitals review requests for those patients and deny their stay, because they may be harder to work with than the nice 78-yearold lady who just had a hip replaced, McGuire says. “Before we started down this road, we used to be like everybody else. We’d get these calls and say, ‘Oh my gosh, this ...continued on next page
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