Independent gubernatorial candidate Greg Orman and his running mate Sen. John Doll took a tour of Kiowa County Memorial Hospital during a visit to Greensburg on March 9.
Keeping track of all the new regulations and less revenue were two of the issues discussed when independent gubernatorial candidate Greg Orman and his running mate Sen. John Doll visited the Kiowa County Memorial Hospital on March 9.
Hospital Administrator Mary Sweet Orman and Doll were very interested in how the hospital worked with other hospitals in the area. The hospital works with Pratt Regional Medical Center for blood banking, occupational therapy and doing lab tests.
"We discussed how we partner with other hospitals," Sweet said.
Among the biggest issues facing the hospital is the loss of revenue from the decrease in population. After the 2007 tornado that destroyed 95 percent of Greensburg including the hospital, the population did not return to it's previous levels. With that drop in population came a drop in the number of patients and a drop in revenue. That was a major concern shared with Orman and Doll.
The hospital continues to deal with bad debt write-offs and financial assistance has doubled in the last couple of years. The hospital tries to recover those bad debts through a collection agency but the people just don't have the money and the hospital can't collect it by any means available to them, Sweet said.
Kansas opted to not expand Medicaid and that adds to the hospitals financial struggles.
The hospital is leased from Great Plains Health Alliance and they are very helpful with financial issues.
Keeping up with changing regulations is also a challenge for the hospital. It takes a lot of work to make sure operations fit into changing guidelines. But, because the building is just 10 years old as of March 10, that helps when meeting all those regulations.
Another issue facing the hospital is finding qualified personnel. There is a shortage of nurses and lab technicians. The hospital is finding it hard to recruit nurses to work at the hospital.
The hospital operates a clinic within the building to help serve the community. They also manage the emergency services ambulance.
When the hospital rebuilt after the 2007 tornado, it became the first LEED Platinum certified critical access hospital in the United States. Orman and Doll learned how the LEED features worked in the building as well as all the other operations of the hospital.
"We talked about every aspect of the hospital and how we made it work," Sweet said.
But for all the financial issues, the hospital continues to be doing good financially. They have a large depreciation write-off, Sweet said.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a "Green" building system that uses designs and construction methods that reduce energy use, water use, improve air quality that all helps improve the quality of life.
Other buildings in Greensburg also meet LEED requirements.