After months of sifting through potential affiliation offers, the Audrain Medical Center announced Tuesday, January 7, its intention of aligning with SSM Health Care.
According to a press release, AMC entered into exclusive talks with SSM on December 20.
The affiliation is expected to aid AMC with its revenue woes and shrinking patient visits. SSM will operate and manage AMC.
“We are excited to partner with SSM — a health care organization that shares a similar mission, vision, and values centered around local access to value-based care with improved health and wellbeing at the forefront of our service delivery,” David Neuendorf, president and CEO of AMC, said in the release.
“We continually strive to find ways to improve the care we provide our community, and our partnership with SSM will enhance our ability to provide coordinated, high-quality care to the residents of Audrain County and surrounding communities.”
SSM — a Catholic, not-for-profit health system — operates 17 hospitals in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Missouri. The health system has 41 affiliate hospitals, most of which are located in small or rural communities. SSM maintains a staff of 7,300 physicians and 25,600 total employees, who service 1.5 million patients annually.
“We don’t want to partner with just any health care system,” Neuendorf said. “It is important that our partner shares our values and our focus on always putting the patient first. A partnership with SSM fosters a bright, sustainable future for Audrain Medical Center, which benefits our employees and physicians, and the residents and communities that we serve.”
AMC Vice President Greg Shaw told The Vandalia Leader in early November the hospital lost about $1.1 million dollars in revenue since the beginning of 2012. He said a 16-percent deficit of patient discharges was partially to blame, as well as costly computer upgrades mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act’s electronic health record. However, he said AMC received about $1.8 million worth of reimbursements for the upgrades in 2012 from Medicaid coffers.
AMC has reported less emergency room visits for the year, which called for the reorganization of staff.
Shaw said the hospital has also had a difficult time recruiting doctors, of which would be helped with the new affiliation. He said an affiliation would help AMC recruit more doctors to increase available services provided by the hospital — hopefully increasing patient discharges and, therefore, revenues.