Significant changes necessary at hospital to stop financial losses
PHENIX CITY, AL - Significant changes are in the works at Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital as turnaround efforts continue at the acute care hospital in Phenix City, Ala. Administrators and owners of the privately-held hospital, which originally opened in August 2006 as Summit Hospital, are executing the next phase of its restructuring plan by reducing or eliminating underperforming medical services and curtailing expenses.
"Difficult times call for difficult decisions," said Mark Baker, CEO of Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital. "Hospitals nationwide are suffering from the economic recession and we are not immune to the turmoil. If we don't act now on significant changes, Phenix City will lose its only hospital. Our changes are about survival in a dismal economy."
The restructuring plan calls for the elimination or reduction of several medical services that can no longer be financially supported at the hospital. Orthopaedic surgery will not be affected as it remains the driving force behind the hospital's financial health.
Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital is licensed as a 62-bed general hospital and has 308 employees. As part of the restructuring, the hospital is evaluating its workforce needs and expects a reduction in staff from its underperforming services.
In January, the American Medical News reported that an increasing number of hospitals nationwide are instituting layoffs as they try to stay solvent in what some administrators and consultants have called the most challenging time for the hospital industry in 40 years. Layoffs throughout the overall business community have swelled the number of uninsured and underinsured patients at the same time that cash-strapped states have slashed Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital has been hamstrung financially by slow collections, low reimbursements from insurers, and underperforming medical services.
"We will get through this and be stronger in the long run," said Carlton Savory, M.D., chairman of the board at Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital. "But we have no choice but to take these necessary measures in the short term to restore the hospital to financial stability."
Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital is owned by a group of physicians at the Hughston Clinic, a multi-specialty orthopaedic clinic in Columbus, Ga., with 19 doctors serving nine offices in Alabama and Georgia. The clinic's specialties include surgery of the knee, shoulder, spine, elbow, foot and ankle, hand and upper extremities, joint replacement, sports medicine and arthroscopy. Hughston Clinic also provides diagnostic services, such as MRI exams, and rehabilitation services, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy.