It is November 2017. Like any other autumn day in Haleyville, Alabama, the residents of this small town are making holiday plans, debating the upcoming Auburn game, or anticipating fall break with their children. However, a starkly different atmosphere pervades the conference room of Lakeland Community Hospital.
The hospital’s leadership has just announced that they will be closing their doors by December 31st of that year. Some cry, others sit in stunned disbelief—a clamor slowly arises. What is being done to avert a shutdown? What are they going to do for work? What about the community—where will they go?
Megan Welborn, Director of Imaging Services, recalls how her child had required emergency treatment at the hospital recently and wonders what might have happened if that was not possible.
Feeling tears well up, she recalls asking herself, “Do I want to live in a town that doesn’t have a hospital?”
The situation was dire. As one of the town’s largest employers, the economic impact of Lakeland’s closure extended well beyond access to care. With their place of work and care shuttered, an exodus of the town’s residents was almost assured.
Ken Sunseri, the town’s mayor, knew that he needed money to keep the hospital open. With just six weeks on the clock, he decided that his office would purchase Lakeland. But that only gave the hospital another month of operations before public coffers would run dry. To make matters worse, the hospital had taken on substantial debt during its decline.
In an emergency city council meeting, a solution was conceived: by increasing sales tax and working with experienced partners, Haleyville could save its hospital.
Along with other business partners, MEDTEAM revenue cycle experts stepped in to take over Lakeland’s central business office functions, creating a process for fiscal recovery that included a payment plan for outstanding bills. Thanks to a collaborative effort, Lakeland averted closure just a few days before Christmas and remains open to serve the people of Haleyville to this day.
Read the full case study here.
Sadly, Lakeland’s story is not unique. Since 2010, 134 rural hospitals have closed, leaving millions without access to necessary medical care.
While these financial setbacks can seem insurmountable, rural hospitals do not have to accept closing the doors on their communities. At MEDTEAM, we have been serving rural and community healthcare providers for over 40 years. We have worked with hundreds of hospitals to improve financials, expand healthcare services, and keep America’s heartland healthy.
Contact us today at 1.800.383.6278 or email email@example.com to learn more about our suite of revenue cycle services.