ETMC to phase out of Gilmer, terminating hospital lease in Mt. V - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

ETMC to phase out of Gilmer, terminating hospital lease in Mt. Vernon

From ETMC:

ETMC Gilmer to phase out inpatient care Emergency department, support services to remain

Beginning Jan. 1 of next year, ETMC Gilmer will no longer provide inpatient care, according to East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System officials.

ETMC Gilmer will continue to operate as a 24-hour emergency center providing full-service emergency care and trauma stabilization, as well as laboratory and radiology services. The ETMC First Physicians clinic, located at the hospital, will continue to operate as usual.

"Making this decision was difficult," said Perry Henderson, senior vice president, affiliate operations. "When ETMC came to Gilmer in 1997, the hospital had been closed and boarded up for two years. We take great pride in knowing that we reopened this facility and made healthcare more accessible to the people of Upshur County.

"Unfortunately," Henderson said, "poor utilization and declining reimbursements across the board make providing inpatient care unfeasible."

Henderson noted that hospitalizations for residents of Upshur County totaled more than 4,000 in 2013, but less than 10 percent -- 386 -- were at ETMC Gilmer. "When you average only two to four patients a day, you can't even begin to cover the overhead costs associated with providing quality inpatient care," he said.

This under-utilization combined with declining reimbursement rates, especially from Medicare and Medicaid, led to unsustainable losses at the hospital, prompting the decision, Henderson said. For example, in 2013, Medicaid reimbursed most hospitals less than 50 percent of their Texas Health and Human Services Commission-audited allowed costs for inpatient care, according to the Texas Hospital Association.

"ETMC remains committed to the people of Upshur County and our mission of care," Henderson said. "We tried providing inpatient care for the past 10 years, and despite some of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the nation, filling our beds has been a struggle. So, we are going to return to our roots in this community and refocus our efforts on emergency and primary care. We hope the community will understand our decision and continue to support ETMC Gilmer by utilizing the clinic and emergency department, as well as outpatient lab and imaging services."

Approximately 40 team members will be affected by the phase out. ETMC will provide assistance to these individuals as they seek employment, either with other ETMC facilities or elsewhere.

In addition to the emergency center and physicians clinic, ETMC EMS and ETMC Home Health will continue to serve Upshur County residents.

ETMC to terminate hospital lease - ETMC First Physicians clinic to continue operation

Franklin County officials have been notified by the East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System of the system's intent to terminate its lease of ETMC Mount Vernon effective Jan. 1.

The ETMC First Physicians clinic in Mount Vernon will continue to operate with Dr. Jean Latortue and nurse practitioner Delisa Brooks providing care.

Poor utilization and declining reimbursement rates were cited as reasons for the decision. "The decision to terminate our lease of ETMC Mount Vernon was an extremely difficult one," said Perry Henderson, senior vice president, affiliate operations. "ETMC has leased this hospital for more than 25 years, so this decision is one we struggled with and did not make lightly. However, the reality of the situation is that due to changes in healthcare and low patient volumes at this facility, we can no longer afford to operate a hospital in this community."

Henderson noted that the emergency department saw on average eight patients a day and the hospital averaged only three or four inpatients a day. "With utilization numbers like these, you can't even cover the overhead associated with keeping a hospital open and providing quality care."

Declining reimbursements from payers such as Medicare and Medicaid contributed to unsustainable losses at the hospital and thus, the decision to close. For example, in 2013, Medicaid reimbursed most hospitals less than 50 percent of their Texas Health and Human Services Commission-audited allowed costs for inpatient care, according to the Texas Hospital Association.

"The leadership team at ETMC is saddened to have to make this decision," Henderson said. "However, healthcare is changing and we are working hard to make the changes needed to remain viable and continue our mission of care in East Texas," Henderson said. "We hope the community will understand our decision and continue to support Dr. Latortue and our clinic."

Approximately 40 team members will be affected by the closure. ETMC will provide assistance to these individuals as they seek employment, either with other ETMC facilities or elsewhere.

ETMC will not seek renewal of lease for ETMC Clarksville

East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System officials have announced the system will not seek renewal of its lease of ETMC Clarksville.

ETMC first made the decision public at the June 19 meeting of the ETMC Clarksville Board of Directors. ETMC officials will meet with the Red River Hospital Authority Board this Thursday at its regularly scheduled meeting.

ETMC has leased the Clarksville hospital since 1996. The current lease expires March 31, 2016.

"We are saddened to inform the community that we will not seek renewal of our lease when it expires," said Perry Henderson, ETMC senior vice president, affiliate operations. "Unfortunately, despite strong support from the community, our providers and our hospital staff, utilization levels and declining reimbursements across the board make our continued involvement unfeasible."

Henderson stated that the average inpatient census for the hospital is seven, and the emergency room averages less than one patient visit per hour. This lack of utilization coupled with cuts in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have led to unsustainable financial losses at the hospital for the past few years.

With 21 months remaining on the current lease, Henderson reiterated ETMC's commitment for fulfilling its obligation. "ETMC has been part of Red River County for more than 18 years, so this was not an easy decision, nor one we took lightly. We are fully committed to continuing to provide quality healthcare to this community through the term of our contract," he said. "We also offer our assistance to the hospital authority as they begin the search for a new lessee. ETMC will do whatever it can to ensure a smooth transition in the coming years and continued access to healthcare for this community."


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