By Woodrow Polston
MEXICO—On Friday, March 18, the Audrain Community Hospital and the Callaway Community Hospital announced that they would be limiting services because of a technology issue with their IT services.
Although physicians’ offices remained open, both hospitals began temporarily diverting EMS and ED services. At that time, the hospitals had also stopped accepting new inpatient admissions.
Because of the closures, questions were circling about the extent of the problems the hospitals might be facing.
Amy O’Brien, chief executive officer of Audrain Community Hospital, and Jeff Stone, interim chief executive officer of Callaway Community Hospital, stated that patient care was still their top priority and that their teams were working to address the issue. Once admissions and EMS services were restored, they said the hospital staff would alert the public through various media outlets, including their own website.
Patients and providers who needed access to their records after 5 p.m. on Monday, March 21, were instructed to fax a request to the Audrain, or Callaway Community Hospitals. Hospital administrators asked for the public to be patient as they worked through this issue.
On March 24, The Audrain Community Hospital and the Callaway Community Hospital announced that they would be suspending all services effective at 5 p.m. Friday, March 25, in order to restructure their operations and become financially viable. The hospital leadership stated that they would be focusing on identifying changes that would make the hospitals more efficient, sustainable, and better able to serve area patients. Some physicians’ offices would remain open during the restructure.
“We have a responsibility to the community to pull back and reassess our operations and structure so we can create a more sustainable healthcare system,” said O’Brien and Stone in their release. “This is not easy. But we know this is the right thing to do for the community and the future of its healthcare system,” they added.
The goal as of now, is to reopen when the hospital can return to delivering high-quality, safe care close to home.
“We appreciate the community’s patience and support as we work through this,” said O’Brien and Stone. “It’s important that the community know just how committed we are to address these challenges,” they added.
Earlier in the week, the hospitals diverted emergency medical services and paused inpatient admissions so they could address longstanding problems with their revenue cycle processes and electronic medical records, which has led to difficulties in the billing cycle creating cash flow problems. All EMS services will be diverted to other area hospitals. Staff will continue to come to work unless otherwise directed, so they will be on hand to help with records’ requests.
The hospitals will be hosting staff meetings twice a week during the restructure and will report out to the community all findings. Both hospitals will keep the community informed on social media, and through local media outlets as new information becomes available.