to gradually increase number of hospital beds
Due to increased need for additional acute care hospital beds, the board of St. Mary’s Hospital recently decided to phase out two of the ten long term care beds and have them relicensed as acute care beds to meet current and future needs.
“We will continue to serve those patients who are currently with us as nursing home patients, but as vacancies occur we will not fill them,” said Larry Kidd, COO. “It was an extremely difficult decision, but there have been many times lately when we have been short on acute care beds. As we project into the future we know the need for hospital care is continuing to grow, especially with our two new doctors. We have to gradually prepare for that.”
According to Kidd, the reimbursement payment structure for rural hospitals changed three years ago. “Research shows that the only long term care facilities that make it, financially, are those with 50 to 60 beds. We’re not in that category. We understand the need in our community, but our hospital’s chief responsibility is to continue to provide health services, rather than residential services. At this time, it’s impossible to do both because we are regularly running short of hospital beds.”
“It would be wonderful if some private investors would consider building a retirement community with a continuum of care that includes retirement units, assisted living and long term care. Those are the models, across the nation, that are being built,” said Casey Meza, CEO. “Some private investors in Orofino built Brookside Landing which has had full occupancy. We would certainly work with an investment group to try and make something similar happen in this area.”