The Sutter Coast Hospital Board of Directors has announced its intention
to seek Critical Access Hospital designation and retain a local board.
Here is a statement Sutter Coast issued Friday morning:
the Sutter Coast Hospital Board of Directors took thoughtful, decisive
action designed to help ensure that Sutter Coast is financially viable
and able to meet the health care needs of our community now and in the
The Board was compelled to act in response to a variety of challenges
impacting health care and rural hospitals nationwide. Hospitals
throughout the country are seeing a drop in the number in-patients
needing services in part because technology has allowed for more and
more procedures to be done outside of hospitals. In addition,
government reimbursements rates from Medicare and Medi-Cal continue to
Among the specific challenges facing Sutter Coast include:
A decline in patients from an average of
25 per day in 2008 to just 19 in 2012 and holding steady to an average
of 20 per day this year.
70% of our patients are insured by
Medicare or Medi-Cal, which do not cover the full-cost of care. The
number of patients 65+ in our community is projected to grow 12.5%
"Sutter Coast faces these challenges in a somewhat unique environment
where our opportunities to increase revenues are limited because of our
rural location and our demographics," said Ken Hall, Sutter Coast
Hospital Board Chair.
Working together these past few months, we have been able to achieve
some significant operational efficiencies and savings, but Sutter Coast
is still projected to operate at a loss of nearly $7 million this year,
which includes the AB1383 funding.
To help identify options to address these challenge, the Board
commissioned a study by the Camden Group. A 15-person Steering
Committee, comprised of community members, also generously volunteered a
good portion of their time to review, interpret and evaluate findings
and a survey was sent to the general public.
After evaluating all available data and considering feedback from the
Steering Committee, the medical community and the public, the Board
embraced a multi-pronged turn-around plan that includes:
Continued enhancements to already high quality care.
Aggressive physician recruitment to retain and attract top talent.
Increased efficiencies of hospital operations and cost reductions.
Application for Critical Access
designation which allows for increased reimbursement for care of
Medicare patients. More than 65% of rural hospitals across the country
are already classified as critical access.
Active communication with the community including ongoing Steering Committee involvement.
The Board also voted in support of a resolution to preserve the local
Sutter Coast Hospital Board of Directors for the foreseeable future.
We know the community has a lot of questions and concerns and we
concluded that for the time being the continuity of this local Board is
important. We are pleased that Sutter Health recognizes our unique
circumstances and supports our request for continued local governance
for the foreseeable future.
We all share the same goal of making sure Sutter Coast is financially
viable and able to meet the health care needs of our community now and
in the future. We believe the steps we are taking will help us achieve
this goal. We look forward to a strong partnership within the community
and between the Medical Staff and the Hospital moving forward.