Rural Oklahoma hospitals struggle to remain open

Rural hospitals have seen their patient base shrink in recent years.

Faced with a rising cost of care, shrinking reimbursements and and the issues that arise from uncompensated care, rural hospitals in Oklahoma are currently struggling to remain viable. This blog has previously reported on the similar plight of rural care facilities in North Carolina, but the issue has grown to become a national concern. 

According to Insurance News Net, rural Oklahoma hospitals started to experience the decline in 2008, alongside the financial crises. 

"There's quite a struggle going on right now, and some of it's old and some of it's new," Roger Knak, CEO of Fairview Regional Medical Center, told the source. 

At Knak's facility, the emergency room averages approximately 135 visitors per month, and there is only an average of 3.6 inpatient visitors per day. Knak explains that part of the reason that attendance has remained to low is that area residents are under the impression that they can receive a higher level of care in the larger metropolitan hospitals. Knak called this belief "ridiculous" and asserted that "We are the highest level of care and most complex care provided in all of northwest Oklahoma."

Knak admitted that this is not the only challenge faced by his facility, with another prominent obstacle being the shortage of physicians. According to Knak, many physicians prefer to practice in more urban areas, citing "quality of life" issues.

These issues can cause challenges for accounts receivable management professionals at rural facilities. If your care facility is currently experiencing issues with cash flow, the decision to outsource receivables management can lead to a decrease in the amount of dollars written off to bad debt and result in a more manageable claims load for on-site staff.