NRMC Designated as Sole Community Hospital
Nevada Regional Medical Center (NRMC) received notification from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday that it would be designated as a Sole Community Hospital (SCH), retroactively effective March 7, 2019.
“The Sole Community Hospital designation is key to strengthening this hospital,” said Steve Branstetter, Chief Executive Officer at NRMC. “Our employees are doing all they can to narrow the gap between revenue and expenses. There are just a handful of outside things we rely on – referrals, community support, and reimbursement rates - that can really push us into operating in the black and this is one of them. This is a huge win for NRMC.”
After the closing of Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott, Kan., NRMC submitted an application to CMS requesting the designation as an SCH. Congress created the SCH program in 1983 to support rural hospitals that may reasonably be considered the sole source of inpatient hospital services in a geographic area to Medicare beneficiaries. SCH designated hospitals receive higher payments from Medicare for inpatient and outpatients services.
Additionally, SCHs can qualify for adjustments due to participation in the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program, and participation in the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, which NRMC does.
Although the exact dollar amount of additional revenue the SCH designation will generate in the coming year is not known, it is estimated based on historical patient volumes to potentially increase Medicare reimbursement by up to $800,000 annually. This amount, though not guaranteed, would account for approximately half of NRMC’s annual payments to the bonds issued for an extensive remodel in 2005.
Citizens United to Strengthen Our Hospital (CUSOH), a committee chaired by Dr. Warren Lovinger, Jr., has proposed a half-cent sales tax in Nevada to help pay down the bond debt. The tax is also estimated to generate $800,000, specifically for bond payments, if passed by voters in Nevada. Together, the SCH designation and the tax revenue have the potential to provide enough funds to fully cover the annual bond payment of more than $1.5 million.
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About Nevada Regional Medical Center
Serving a six-county area since 1937, Nevada Regional Medical Center is a 71-bed acute, intensive and skilled care hospital. Nevada Regional Medical Center has earned recognition as a respected regional medical center for its comprehensive health care services, skilled and caring employees and state-of-the-art medical technology. Staff represent more than a dozen medical specialties, including family practice, women’s services, neurology, urology, psychiatry, orthopedics, wound care services, and general, vascular, thoracic and oncological surgery. Additionally, consultation clinics are held regularly by specialists in oncology, pulmonology, podiatry, ear, nose, and throat and cardiology.