Is Access to Specialists a Key to Improving Hospital Margins?

Hospitals across the U.S. are struggling financially. However, one of our partner hospitals, NorthBay Medical Center, is bucking this national trend and increasing its margins and operating success – a fact that was lauded in Modern Healthcare1 last year. The key, as cited in the article, is the hospital’s ability to keep its patients from leaving the county for specialty services, such as cardiovascular surgery. The result: its hospital operating margins climbed from negative 2.1 percent in 2011 to 6.3 percent in 2013.

One compelling example of the success of the hospital’s strategy is its partnership with us, which has produced results that raised hospital results in improved care, decreased the length of stay, and lower costs.

Our collaborative partnership with NorthBay Medical Center is recognized by hospital leadership. Gary Passama, president and chief executive officer of NorthBay Healthcare System, expressed to me that “now his community knows that they can count on us [the hospital] because Surgical Affiliates is there to handle any emergency.” I appreciated hearing this because it reinforced the strength of our partnership and a common goal to providing the community with access to high-quality emergency surgical care and knowing that the community could turn to the NorthBay Healthcare System for any medical emergency.

Our team approach enables us to collaborate with a hospital’s staff to improve patient care by implementing a consistent use of surgical best practices, continuity of care, and communications with patients, families, and the patient’s primary care team.

In addition, because hospital executives knew that NorthBay Medical Center would remain the county’s busiest trauma center, we were asked to collaborate with them to expand the hospital’s trauma center to achieve a Level 2 designation verified by the American College of Surgeons. By obtaining this verification, NorthBay is able to assure its community that when they look to the hospital for care, including trauma care, they’ll be treated with the highest standards.

NorthBay has definitely raised the bar in identifying and implementing strategies that have been proven to provide the best access to the high-quality care in its community and these same strategies could benefit any hospital faced with the same situation.

If you’re interested in learning more, please read our new case study. You can request a copy by visiting Our Results Page and clicking on the box entitled “NorthBay Hospital Continues to Buck the Trend with Outstanding Results from Surgical Hospitalist Program.”

1 Kutscher, B. Hospital margins slump due to squeeze from volume, rates, investments, Modern Healthcare, June 23, 2014