LINTON - In many rural communities, hospitals are the main economic driver. Greene County General Hospital is no exception, employing 300 workers and contributing $62 million to the local economy annually. However, Chief Executive Officer Brenda Reetz says rural hospitals tend to be "low-hanging fruit" when it comes to spending cuts. She says the hospital has been able to stay successful by "watching every single penny we spend" and undertaking operational efficiency projects.

During an interview on Inside INdiana Business, Reetz said rural hospitals are often taken for granted. “Hospitals have just, sort of, always been there,” she says, adding that without them, rural economies would face “complete devastation.”

Reetz says cutting costs and becoming more efficient is an ongoing process. She says the hospital cut $3.2 million in expenses last year. New leadership has taken the facility from a balance sheet that was millions of dollars in the red to recording a small profit. Reetz says Greene County General Hospital has become a standout nationwide at a time when many independent hospitals are closing or selling.

One government policy that Reetz says is creating a “very positive impact” is HIP 2.0, which she says gives patients more insurance options. As a critical access hospital, Greene County General Hospital must take all patients. If they don’t have insurance, it becomes charity care. Reetz says HIP 2.0 has allowed more patients to get insurance, leading to fewer charity cases.

Reetz says, even while creating operational efficiency, the hospital is working to advance its health care offerings. She cites 3D mammography technology that is usually only found in big, urban hospitals and a Bicentennial Commission Legacy Project called Sweet Dreams Baby Bundles, that provides essentials for babies in exchange for mothers going through prenatal care and delivery with the hospital.