Joint Commission

Lincoln Health System’s hospital and home health’s survey by The Joint Commission was a huge success, said staff in a report to the system’s Board of Trustees during its June meeting.

Although Lincoln Health System had anticipated a visit from The Joint Commission, the organization actually made its unannounced onsite visit substantially early, staff reported, noting that the rigorous survey was conducted June 6-7.

The Joint Commission seeks to improve health care for the public, evaluates the health care organizations and inspires them to be better. Their quality reports give the public information on the safety and quality of care for all Joint Commission accredited and/or certified healthcare organizations. 

According to Carrie Rogers, director of nursing, the hospital scored better than the national average – “It was a fantastic survey for hospital and home health,” she said. “I’m extremely proud of the hospital.”

The Joint Commission gave the system Best Practices ratings in four areas, including the hospital’s pediatric weight-based banding system at the point of triage; endo checklist; prohibited abbreviations; and SBAR infection communication at home health.

In other discussion, Bob Lonis, chief financial officer, stated that May showed a much better performance in regard to Lincoln Medical Center’s budget and the best net revenue margin of the year. Lonis noted that total collections were $3.4 million and above net revenues generated for the month of $3.1 million.  Reimbursements assisted with the net revenue gain, and he added that a $500,000 payment from the state was expected at the end of the month.

The Medicare Length of Stay, at 2.68 days, was the lowest in four years, he continued -- “The smaller the stay the less of the resources used,” he explained. 

He also said that it was a good contractual month. Outpatient volumes went down, and the bottom line was that the hospital lost $113,000, he said, adding, “But it was better than before.” 

Lonis briefly discussed the proposed CMS changes to the area wage index formula. Currently, hospitals that have a large number of rural counties and small community hospitals have been receiving disproportionately low Medicare reimbursement.

THA has addressed the issue in the 2020 inpatient prospective payment system proposed. If passed, it would provide much needed relief to many Tennessee hospitals beginning Oct. 1 by increasing the wage index for hospitals with a wage index below the 25th percentile and decreasing the wage index for hospitals above the 75th percentile.

 Lonis stated that he feels that it’s going to pass and that it would be worth $200,000 to the health system.

Officials plan to contact the Office of the Attorney General to learn more about the forms required, which would allow LHS to sell unused properties. While the water has been turned off at Lincoln Care Center, the system is still paying $6,000 to $7,000 per month for electric service there.  

In related business, last month the board approved a motion to donate surplus furniture items from Lincoln Care Center to Junior’s House Child Advocacy Center, contingent on county approval. This month, the board approved the donation to Junior’s House.

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