Hospital on track with strategic plan
By Russ Pankonin, The Imperial Republican
This month, the board of the Chase County Community Hospital began a strategic planning process to help set the future course for the hospital.
With the changes in healthcare brought about by Obamacare and other outside influences, rural hospitals throughout this state and country are facing some difficult times and difficult decisions as to their future.
A strong, healthy hospital and the availability of local healthcare services represents one of the key components for Imperial and Chase County to continue to grow and prosper. A solid strategic plan will help guide the board and staff in the direction to achieve that goal.
When I talk with people about our hospital, I’m often surprised to learn that many think they pay taxes to keep the hospital running.
In the case of Chase County Community Hospital, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, our hospital is only one of only two in the state that operate without any tax money from property owners.
That means the hospital must rely solely on the revenue generated from within its walls. As Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements continue to decline, our hospital has been faced with growing deficit operations.
Unfortunately, this comes at a time when the life expectancy of our current hospital is coming to an end. We can’t continue to ignore that fact.
I would admit that I’m one of those “build it and they will come”-minded guys. If at some point down the road we are going to be asked to use tax dollars for the hospital, I’d just as soon see those tax dollars going into a new facility.
To me, that makes more sense in the long term to best meet the future needs of residents in Chase County and the area.
A new facility will enhance recruitment efforts to bring new medical personnel and services here. It could also be the factor that stops the leakage of patients going to other towns for their healthcare needs. “Build it and they will come.”
The hospital board is on the right track in looking to the future with a new strategic plan. It’s time we all get behind the hospital and work together towards its success. That’s how we get rid of the cloud that’s hung over our hospital for far too many years.