Rural hospital in Tennessee to cease offering inpatient and emergency services

May 6, 2014 | Hospital Finance Efficiency

Community Health Systems, a rural hospital located near Brownsville, Tennessee, had made the decision to end both emergency and inpatient services. The hospital claims that the failure to expand the Medicaid program was the the driving factor of the decision, and the 62-bed hospital will become an urgent care clinic as of July 31.

Tennessee has refused the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, which means the state misses out on federal government funding, and there is not enough insured patients to make up the difference. 

"We've seen this coming since the state decided not to do expansion," says Tennessee Hospital Association president Craig Becker to NPR. "We anticipate that there will be other hospitals that will be closing as well."

The Brownsville hospital was built in 1974 by Hospital Corp. of America, to replace a county-owned hospital built in 1931. Community Health Systems bought the hospital in 2003, and it has been the county's only hospital since that date. 

Brownsville Mayor Jo Matherne said city and county officials will work with the hospital "to make the transition as smooth as possible" and to try to find an alternative for emergency medical care for the areas residents. The nearest hospital with an emergency room is 25 miles away in Jackson. Matherne acknowledged that some of the hospital's current employees will be misplaced. 

The state's failure to expand Medicaid means it is turning down $2.5 million in federal funds per day, according to an independent study cited by the article. If your practice is currently experiencing a backlog of medical insurance claims processing, outsourcing accounts receivables to Professional  Medical Services can increase cash flow and allow your administration to focus its energy on more significant accounts.