Mitchell hospital changes designation for ‘financial health’

(Dakota news now)
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 10:22 AM CDT
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MITCHELL, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell announced its designation has changed to a Critical Access Hospital.

The designation was made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The hospital was previously designated a Prospective Payment System hospital.

Hospital officials stated that patients will not notice any changes to their care experience or the services provided.

“I appreciate the great deal of work our team did to request this change, because it will better cover the costs for the care we provide,” said Doug Ekeren, regional president and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital. “Approximately half of United States hospitals finished 2022 with a negative margin as growth in expenses outpaced revenue increases. In light of trends like that, we need to be creative and focus on our financial health so that Avera Queen of Peace can continue to serve Mitchell and the surrounding area. Being a CAH provides a better fiscal foundation upon which we can continue to build our services.”

According to a release from Avera, the biggest change with the designation is that Critical Access Hospitals can have a maximum of 25 acute care inpatient beds. The Avera Queen of Peace hospital census has only reached that number a few times in the past three years. The hospital noted that the Department of Health and Human Services could allow Avera Queen of Peace to surpass the 25-bed limit if needed in the event of a public health emergency.

“It is important to note that there have not been any services identified that we will need to discontinue because of our CAH status,” said Dr. Hilary Rockwell, who will become the regional president and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital on July 1 as part of a previously announced leadership transition. “We will continue to explore ways that we can expand our offerings to the community, such as with our addition this spring of acute dialysis services that will enable patients who once needed to go to a different community for that care to receive it in Mitchell.”