By Woodrow Polston
Last week the Audrain County Commission was joined by officials of the City of Mexico and members of the Audrain County Health Department to hold a joint press conference concerning the future of health care services in Audrain County. The announcement was made that they are starting the process to seek Requests For Qualifications (RFQs) from firms experienced in healthcare, healthcare delivery, healthcare market analysis and related subjects. A consulting firm will ultimately be selected to conduct a Healthcare Market Assessment and Financial Feasibility Study.
The three public entities are part of a special committee of tax-supported entities put together to gather information and data to help identify viable long-term, sustainable healthcare and emergency care solutions for area residents and businesses. The RFQ was issued by the committee on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Audrain County Presiding Commissioner Alan Winders said that the commission hopes the study will be utilized by all local healthcare providers.
“It is our hope that this independent study will be used by all existing healthcare providers and any future investors to pursue a healthcare delivery model that is most likely to succeed based on relevant research and data,” said Winders. “The public entities of Audrain County believe that it is prudent to engage an independent, unbiased consulting firm to conduct a market assessment and financial feasibility study to help facilitate data driven decision-making,” he added.
Representatives of the cooperating public entities spoke individually to members of the press at the Audrain County Courthouse concerning the importance of future healthcare services.. Bruce Slagle, city of Mexico manager, said that healthcare solutions are needed for area residents.
“We need sustainable healthcare and emergency services solutions to meet the needs of area residents,” said Slagle. “The study will help existing and future providers identify the type, scope and size of healthcare services and facilities that offers long-term sustainability. Sustainable healthcare will result in our ability to recruit and retain residents and businesses to our community.” he added.
The purpose of the study is to conduct an independent comprehensive market assessment and financial feasibility study to facilitate information and data for the identification and recommendation of healthcare delivery models and facilities most likely to succeed as long-term solutions to meet the ongoing healthcare needs of Audrain County and surrounding communities. ACHD Administrator/CEO Craig Brace said that there are a variety of services to be considered in the study.
“Exploration and validation of potential healthcare models and facilities include but are not limited to the following: Micro Hospital, 24/7 Emergency Services, Urgent Care, Acute Care, Ambulatory Care, Surgical Care, Primary and Specialty Care, Rural Emergency Hospital (REH), Critical Access Hospital (CAH), Remote Campus of Existing Health Systems and Outpatient Provider Based Department Services,” said Brace.
A list of key selection criteria and deliverables include the following: 1. Independent healthcare consulting firm. Selected firm will have no bias toward the results, recommendations, or bias of existing hospital and/or proposed plans for a new hospital.
2. Historic perspective of what led to the closure of Audrain Hospital will be summarized. 3. Onsite visit to interview community members and key stakeholders. 4. Study to examine multiple delivery models and facilities. Consultant to rank order the models/facilities that are most likely to be successful. 5. Assess current healthcare landscape and investment from local and regional healthcare entities. 6. Assess the impact and role market demographics, decrease market share and referral patterns play in the type and viability of healthcare services in Mexico. 7. Determine viable and potential payor mix for potential models and facilities. The consulting firms submitting RFQs will be evaluated based on the firm’s healthcare research experience and understanding of the project. It is anticipated that a contract will be negotiated in the weeks immediately following selection. RFQ submission deadline is March 9. Questions regarding the scope or intent of the study may be directed to Mr. Craig Brace, Administrator/CEO, Audrain County Health Department at email@example.com or call 573-581-1332. Questions regarding the logistics of submission of the Statement of Qualifications may be directed to Alan Winders, Audrain County Presiding Commissioner at 573-473-5822.