Rural Hospitals Bracing For Reform

Posted: Updated:

The head of the Indiana Rural Health Association says some Indiana rural hospitals could close without changes to the Affordable Care Act. Don Kelso says such populations tend to be older and lower income, leading to more health problems for patients with less means to pay. The organization is partnering with the Zionsville-based Greenspire Leader Center to provide strategic planning resources to hospitals dealing with higher costs and lower reimbursements. Kelso says reimbursement mechanisms currently emphasize treatments for sick people rather than services to keep people healthy. He believes "the conversation has begun" to change the focus of the health care system.

He says another challenge is that rural populations are shrinking, leading to a "smaller political voice" in many areas. In addition, Kelso says the costs for top talent and advanced technology continue to increase.

September 10, 2013

News Release

Terre Haute, Indiana -- Complicated and rapid changes in Indiana's healthcare landscape can create uncertainty and loss of productivity for even the most seasoned healthcare executives, according to Don Kelso, executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA). To help Indiana healthcare executives and board members better anticipate and resolve complex industry challenges, IRHA has partnered with the Greenspire Leader Center to support hospital and healthcare administrators in improving critical issues such as performance, quality of medical service line development, physician alignment, and staff management. To achieve this Zionsville-based Greenspire pulls together a formal collaboration of national healthcare experts who can provide critical resources for executives and managers across the continuum of care in urban or rural areas.

"Indiana healthcare leadership faces multifaceted challenges today that could hardly have even been predicted a decade or so ago," said Kelso. "Rising healthcare costs, changes in federal and state regulations, and increasing complexity of local operations require knowledgeable leaders backed by strategic resources such as what Greenspire can provide."

He continued: "Simply put, Greenspire's chief focus is on producing exceptional leader performance and growth to serve hospitals and medical operations, which will benefit healthcare practices across Indiana." The IRHA executive director emphasized that the new Greenspire partnership reflects IRHA's "continuing commitment to high-quality healthcare delivery, patient satisfaction and the safe practice of services."

Aaron Hazzard, Greenspire executive director, noted that Greenspire represents a collaboration of national healthcare experts working to develop internal leadership capabilities and to provide healthcare leaders access to needed resources. Concerning the IRHA new service partnership, he continued: "Greenspire's interdisciplinary councils, composed of dynamic healthcare leaders, will direct service offerings, will credential firms and services, and will utilize Baldrige-based infrastructure processes to improve upon the growth and development of exceptional results."

"While serving close to one million Hoosiers, Indiana hospitals and practices in rural settings and small towns must daily cope with complex changes, changing business drivers, and market shifts that challenge all segments of the healthcare service industry," Kelso said. "Hospital administrators, executives and board members have their hands full, and we expect this partnership with Greenspire will provide fresh help and needed resources for rural communities."

Initially unveiled at IRHA's annual conference, the new Greenspire partnership can provide hospitals and healthcare organizations with leadership mentoring and coaching; advanced leadership skill forums; interim executive performance upgrades; executive searches and development; and expert facilitation in implementing complex initiatives.

Scott Graybill, an IRHA Board Member who serves on the Greenspire development team, described Greenspire from the CEO's point of view: "Their expertise and independent perspective will assist us to thoroughly understand before acting upon the wide range of complex priorities we face."

In a similar vein, established specialty firms that focus on understanding the bigger picture ahead of advising healthcare leaders agree. In support of this, John Poracky, President of AIMS International-US, noted: "We appreciate being a Greenspire Credentialed Partner, in that collectively the ‘common client’ receives better value sooner without the risk of traditional approaches."

About the Indiana Rural Health Association

The Indiana Rural Health Association was organized in 1997 and is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the health and well-being of rural populations in Indiana through leadership, education, advocacy, collaboration, and resource development. The strength of the organization is through the present diverse membership and the founding organizers who are committed to impacting the health of citizens through the identification of rural health issues and through advocacy roles in both the public and private sectors. IRHA membership is made up of 2,600 diverse individuals and organizations, making it the largest rural health association in the nation, and a nationally recognized leader in rural health care. For more information, visit www.indianaruralhealth.org.

About Greenspire

Greenspire Leader Center is an independent healthcare networking organization committed to support organizational success by optimizing the performance and growth of exceptional leaders through leadership development and change management. Greenspire is staffed by a diverse group of process experts and healthcare leaders with a national network of over 70 credentialed firms, services, and specialists over 14 categories critical to exceptional leadership performance (For more information, please visit www.gspire.org)

Source: Indiana Rural Health Association