Editor’s Note: This article has been changed to more accurately portray the data provided by the CHQPR. We regret this error.
TOPEKA (KSNT) – Earlier this week, Governor Laura Kelly announced she would be pushing for Medicaid expansion after a study released in July, 2023 by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform (CHQPR) found 58% of rural hospitals were at risk of closure.
“Already, too many rural hospitals have shut their doors,” Governor Laura Kelly said in response to the report. “When that happens, the communities have been devastated. These Kansans have to drive hours now to receive their basic care. There is an obvious way to stop the bleeding: Expand Medicaid.”
Since 2005 there have been nine rural hospital closures in Kansas. Currently, Kansas has 104 rural hospitals, of which 29 are at immediate risk of closure due to severe financial problems. CHQPR attributed the financial issues to patient service margin loss over a multi-year period and to low financial reserves.
Many rural hospitals have a positive total margin despite losses from patient services because they receive local tax revenue or grants to offset the losses. If the other sources of revenue continue to decrease or are terminated, the hospital would no longer have enough revenue to remain open, according to a CHQPR Saving Rural Hospitals report.
The largest factor CHQPR attributed to financial issues was private insurance plans paying less than the cost to deliver services to patients.
Rural hospital closings threaten the nation’s food supply and energy production because farms, ranches, mines, drilling sites, wind farms and solar energy facilities are mostly in rural areas. Attracting and retaining workers may be difficult if workers can’t get adequate healthcare services in these rural areas, according to the CHQPR study.
The CHQPR compiled data from Medicare Cost Reports available as of July 2023. The following rural Kansas hospitals have the largest negative patient service margins:
|Number||Hospital||City||Total Expenses||Patient Services Margin||Total Margin|
|1||Mercy Hospital, Inc||Moundridge||5,222,563.00$||-32.70%||1.50%|
|2||Hillsboro Community Hospital||Hillsboro||9,269,917.00$||-32.30%||-17.70%|
|3||Patterson Health Center||Anthony||26,342,268.00$||-29.90%||-7.60%|
|4||Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital||Ulysses||14,373,454.00$||-29.80%||-19.80%|
|5||Kiowa County Memorial Hospital||Greensburg||10,683,575.00$||-27.80%||-10.50%|
|6||Rush County Memorial Hospital||La Crosse||7,595,457.00$||-27.40%||-18.10%|
|7||Stanton County Hospital||Johnson||11,127,033.00$||-27.30%||-8.60%|
|8||Jewell County Hospital||Mankato||8,011,394.00$||-27.20%||5.50%|
|9||Morton County Hospital||Elkhart||8,162,331.00$||-25.80%||4.80%|
|10||Hamilton County Hospital||Syracuse||15,304,125.00$||-24.70%||-7.30%|
|11||Grisell Memorial Hospital||Ransom||7,251,543.00$||-24.10%||7.10%|
|12||Stormont Vail Health Flint Hills, LLC||Junction City||45,166,234.00$||-23.20%||-2.40%|
|13||Ashland Health Center||Ashland||10,108,097.00$||-22.80%||14.80%|
|14||Stafford County Hospital||Stafford||12,945,545.00$||-22.60%||0.10%|
|15||Minneola District Hospital Nbr 2||Minneola||16,261,523.00$||-22.40%||-2.20%|
|16||Kiowa District Hospital||Kiowa||9,419,882.00$||-20.10%||-1.80%|
|17||Fredonia Regional Hospital||Fredonia||14,567,673.00$||-19.40%||6.40%|
|18||Comanche County Hospital||Coldwater||6,650,524.00$||-19.20%||1.20%|
|19||Anderson County Hospital||Garnett||32,998,080.00$||-18.40%||-2.30%|
|20||Wichita County Health Center||Leoti||11,263,772.00$||-18.10%||6.10%|
|21||Smith County Memorial Hospital||Smith Center||23,257,586.00$||-17.90%||-4.70%|
|22||Meade District Hospital||Meade||16,842,582.00$||-16.90%||-6.60%|
|23||Greeley County Health Services||Tribune||15,101,309.00$||-16.90%||15.90%|
|25||Russell Regional Hospital||Russell||21,149,221.00$||-16.40%||4.80%|
|26||Gove County Medical Center||Quinter||20,794,345.00$||-15.60%||-2.80%|
|27||Trego County Lemke Memorial Hospital||Wa Keeney||19,951,810.00$||-15.60%||4.90%|
|28||Sedan City Hospital||Sedan||5,593,941.00$||-15.50%||3.60%|
|29||Ellinwood District Hospital||Ellinwood||9,986,530.00$||-15.50%||4.60%|
|30||Ness County Hospital District #2||Ness City||12,663,445.00$||-15.10%||13.50%|
|31||Lincoln County Hospital||Lincoln||8,104,437.00$||-14.80%||3.00%|
|32||Mercy Hospital Columbus||Columbus||5,505,270.00$||-14.70%||-7.60%|
|33||Graham County Hospital||Hill City||10,499,098.00$||-14.30%||14.70%|
|34||Satanta District Hospital||Satanta||16,399,524.00$||-14.10%||3.20%|
|35||University of KS Health System Great Bend Campus||Great Bend||63,887,560.00$||-13.10%||-8.10%|
|36||Osborne County Memorial Hospital||Osborne||9,161,655.00$||-12.90%||12.30%|
|37||Greenwood County Hospital||Eureka||14,249,587.00$||-12.70%||15.20%|
|38||Ellsworth County Medical Center||Ellsworth||21,876,596.00$||-12.30%||0.00%|
|39||Edwards County Medical Center||Kinsley||11,156,184.00$||-12.30%||9.90%|
|40||Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital||Medicine Lodge||13,125,293.00$||-12.20%||4.40%|
Stormont Vail Health took over operations of Junction City hospital and clinic, now known as the Stormont Vail Health Flint Hills Campus, in the summer of 2022 and assumed ownership Jan. 1, 2023. Stormont Vail Health leaders tell 27 News that since then, they have seen steady and significant financial improvement as they regain the confidence of the community by delivering high quality, safe care.
Stormont Vail Health Vice President Marketing and Communications Anita Fry said the turnaround started as a result of a unique collaboration between Stormont Vail, the Geary County Commission, the hospital’s board of trustees and others. She said teamwork across the Stormont Vail teams in Topeka, Junction City, Manhattan and Emporia, all working together, has been pivotal in the success of this large transition.
“Not only have we seen improved financial performance at our Junction City facility, in the past couple of months we have been at or near the breakeven point,” Fry wrote in a statement to 27 News. “We are confident because of our team and the community we have supporting us that this will continue. There is no consideration of closing the Stormont Vail Health Flint Hills Campus.”