Monarch Wing, rural clinic transition time frames announced
Apr 13, 2012 (Newton Daily News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
When Skiff Medical Center announced Wednesday its new strategic plan for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, partnerships with Health Enterprises of Iowa and Red Rock Health Venture were unveiled.
Skiff administration said that Red Rock would be taking over operations of the Newton hospital's satellite clinics in Baxter, Colfax and Monroe. It will create a specialized clinic in Newton, targeting areas of care such as internal medicine and neurology, and keep the rural clinic's primary care facilities with the ultimate goal of having specialists rotate throughout the clinic network's various locations. On Thursday, Skiff Public Relations Director Stephanie Alexander said that the change would happen as soon as the end of April.
"The rural clinics' transfer to the NewCare Clinics will be effective April 29," Alexander said in a phone interview.
Although in cooperation, NewCare and Skiff will be two independent companies, according to Alexander. Red Rock said that it would not hire family practice physicians for the satellite clinics and keep them in operation with their current physicians' assistants and nurse practitioners.
Alexander said Thursday that with the addition of NewCare and the transition of the Hospice Monarch Wing to medical/surgical unit, the changes are slated to help Skiff's bottom line. All current employees will remain employed, but many will transition to the NewCare label.
"We will have fewer employees, so from a salary and benefits perspective there will be a financial benefit," she said.
Skiff has lost an average of $2 million annually during the past five years. Alexander said Skiff officials believe that implementing the upcoming changes could offset half of that loss.
During the additions, Skiff officials said that the Monarch Wing will be temporarily closed from May 1 through June 1 to retrofit the unit, making it compatible with hospital-wide wiring and computer terminals.
The transition also will increase Skiff's inpatient bed capacity. Because of the federal Rural Demonstration Project, which is connected to the national health care reform law, Skiff is reimbursed 100 percent of Medicare clients' inpatient costs. Alexander said the reformed wing will increase hospital revenue.
"With the Monarch Wing and rural clinics we've been losing money," Alexander said. "That's not a sustainable model in the long run."
The regional clinical laboratory announced by Health Enterprises of Iowa to be located in the former Maytag Corporate Headquarters also will be in partnership with Skiff. Alexander said that a time frame for operation is still up in the air, but she believes work will be seen on the facility throughout 2012.
The hospital official said that it is still unknown to what extent Skiff's laboratory work would be outsourced to Health Enterprises.
"At the end of the day the goal is to be a viable local hospital," Alexander said.
Mike Mendenhall can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 422 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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