Small Rural Hospitals Face Desperate Financial Crunch - WSPA.com

Small Rural Hospitals Face Desperate Financial Crunch

Posted: Updated:
Rural independent hospitals struggle to stay afloat in tough financial times. Rural independent hospitals struggle to stay afloat in tough financial times.
UNION, S.C. - Despite cutting millions from the budget, eliminating services and shrinking staff, small rural independent hospitals like Wallace Thompson in Union will struggle to keep the doors open unless they look for much larger regional partners.

“Having the doctor right here is a lot of help because we used to have to drive to Spartanburg," said Emily Harkins who gave birth at Wallace Thompson in November and visited this week for another child’s surgery.

The hospital lost money last year despite cutting $3 million from the budget, cutting the OB/GYN staff from 3 doctors to 1 full time and two part-time, and eliminating orthopedic services.

In an average year, the hospital struggles to fill beds and has about a 28% occupancy rate according to CEO Paul Newhouse.

“If we just stay status quo we won't be here in the next few years. There's no doubt about that. I think that's happening all over the country," Newhouse said.

The hospital is already in talk with possible partners. 

“It's really vital that we find a way to survive here in the community," Newhouse said.

Part of the problem comes from the way healthcare itself is changing.  Fewer patients require inpatient stays.

Hospitals now collect smaller fees from insurers and from Medicare.

Plus, the Affordable Care Act required some expensive upgrades like electronic medical records.

Newhouse said that while the ACA requires more patients to buy health insurance, many poorer patients opt for the less expensive “catastrophic” plans with high deductibles.

He said many patients then find they can’t afford those deductible payments after hospital care.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • August Mugshots

    August Mugshots

    Monday, August 11 2014 4:01 PM EDT2014-08-11 20:01:35 GMT
    August arrests in Upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.
    August arrests in Upstate South Carolina and western North Carolina.
  • 'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    'Party mansion' in North Raleigh sells for $1 million

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 12:42 PM EDT2014-08-26 16:42:52 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
    A North Raleigh house commonly referred to as “the party mansion” sold last month for $1 million.
  • NC college students create nail polish to help protect women from date rape

    NC college students create nail polish to help protect women from date rape

    Monday, August 25 2014 11:33 AM EDT2014-08-25 15:33:52 GMT
    Students in the Materials Science Engineering department at North Carolina State University teamed up to invent a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date-rape drugs. Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB often go undetected because they are often odorless and colorless. Rohypnol, used to be in white tablet form but recently it's been formulated as to be green with a blue core. The manufacturer made the change to try and identify tampered drinks at clubs. But generic versions of...
    Students in the Materials Science Engineering department at North Carolina State University teamed up to invent a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date-rape drugs. Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB often go undetected because they are often odorless and colorless. Rohypnol, used to be in white tablet form but recently it's been formulated as to be green with a blue core. The manufacturer made the change to try and identify tampered drinks at clubs. But generic versions of...
  • Most Viewed Stories on WSPA.com

  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • 1 Dead After Crash On Greenpond Rd.

    1 Dead After Crash On Greenpond Rd.

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:32 AM EDT2014-08-27 10:32:58 GMT
    1 dead after crash in Greenville County.1 dead after crash in Greenville County.
    The Highway Patrol says one person is dead after a single car crash in Greenville County.Troopers say ithappened at 12:05 a.m. on Greenpond Road near Martin Road just outside the town on Fountain Inn.Investigators say the drive of a 1998 Ford Expedition went off the road overturned and hit a fence.
    The Highway Patrol says one person is dead after a single car crash in Greenville County.Troopers say ithappened at 12:05 a.m. on Greenpond Road near Martin Road just outside the town on Fountain Inn.Investigators say the drive of a 1998 Ford Expedition went off the road overturned and hit a fence.
  • Extra Patrols in Place for Labor Day Weekend

    Extra Patrols in Place for Labor Day Weekend

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:49 AM EDT2014-08-27 09:49:54 GMT
    Extra patrols for Labor Day WeekendExtra patrols for Labor Day Weekend
    More South Carolinians will be traveling for Labor Day weekend than in the last 6 years. Over 450,000 people will be traveling more than 50 miles, according to AAA Carolinas.With so many people on the roads, law enforcement is putting out extra patrols to keep you safe.Hands Across The Borders starts Wednesday in the Upstate. This is where dozens of law enforcement agencies from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia work together to stop drinking and driving.
    More South Carolinians will be traveling for Labor Day weekend than in the last 6 years. Over 450,000 people will be traveling more than 50 miles, according to AAA Carolinas.With so many people on the roads, law enforcement is putting out extra patrols to keep you safe.Hands Across The Borders starts Wednesday in the Upstate. This is where dozens of law enforcement agencies from North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia work together to stop drinking and driving.
  • Lyman Employee Suspended; SLED, FBI Involved

    Lyman Employee Suspended; SLED, FBI Involved

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 11:06 PM EDT2014-08-27 03:06:27 GMT
    Former Lyman Public Works Director Alan Johnson has been suspended without pay pending an investigation. Town council called an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the matter.
    Former Lyman Public Works Director Alan Johnson has been suspended without pay pending an investigation. Town council called an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the matter.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.