Just over a year since Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) signed a formal affiliation agreement with Adena Health System, officials said the benefits are proving so valuable that the FCMH Board of Trustees has reaffirmed their desire to continue the affiliation and explore opportunities to work more closely for the betterment of the community.
Goals for the original partnership included increasing access to local specialty care, reducing the number of patients leaving the area for care, sharing strengths to improve overall patient satisfaction, combining caregiver education for improved patient care, developing best practices to reduce the occurrence of sepsis, and combining strategies to address the community’s health and wellness needs.
“Adena Health System is continuing to prove themselves to be a valuable partner. They have been an active member of the Fayette County community for over 10 years,” said FCMH CEO Mike Diener, “and they have demonstrated their commitment to the success of FCMH by providing specialists on our campus who support FCMH patient care departments. Having them on-site, in our community, makes travel the least concern for a patient dealing with a medical issue.”
The FCMH/Adena partnership has been a factor in positive financial results for FCMH, according to officials, which has seen a 7 percent decline in total long-term debt and a 54 percent increase in facility repairs and capital investments.
“The increase in our bottom line has allowed us to make facility improvements that will ultimately enhance patient care and overall patient satisfaction,” said Diener.
Adena now has eight specialty departments that are housed on the FCMH campus in the Adena Bone & Joint Clinic and the Adena Specialty Fayette office. These include: Cardiology, Dermatology, Nephrology, Neurology, Ob/Gyn, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. Just last week, a ninth specialty, Oncology, was introduced as the two partners cut the ribbon opening the new FCMH Cancer Care Clinic, which will provide Fayette County residents who have been diagnosed with cancer or a hematologic disorder local care.
As a result, the number of patients traveling outside the community for care has declined 2 percent in the overall number of patients, and 10 percent in orthopedic patients, according to officials. In the two years that the Adena Bone & Joint Clinic has been on location, the average number of monthly visits has increased by 12 percent.
To Diener and Jeff Graham, Adena president and CEO, the affiliation is a natural fit. According to the most recent data published by the Ohio Hospital Association, Adena Health System is consistently second behind FCMH in inpatient, outpatient and ER market share measures.
“A combination of one or more Columbus hospitals (OSU, Mount Carmel, OhioHealth) typically take the third spot, with Clinton Memorial and Miami Valley filling out the remainder of the list,” said Diener.
This data confirms the observation that Fayette County residents are typically oriented more toward the Chillicothe and Columbus markets.
“Adena’s partnership vision includes working with our region’s health care partners to enable patients to be cared for locally, while aligning and reducing the cost for care,” said Graham. “Our successful partnership was born from conversations that identified specific needs and clear strategies to assist Fayette County Memorial Hospital in addressing those needs. After just one year of an official affiliation, it is clear that the FCMH/Adena partnership is working for our patients, the hospital and the community. As we continue down this path, I can guarantee that we are committed to Fayette County and those we jointly serve.”
Graham added, “We continually hear from patients that they are grateful our providers come to them. They have commented that they are happy not to have to drive to Dayton or Cincinnati to see a doctor who can help them manage and treat their condition locally.”
As a county-owned critical access hospital, FCMH has had the flexibility to partner with larger systems, officials said. The organization works closely with The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center for TeleStroke and TeleMedicine services and is a member of The Ohio State Health Network, which provides bulk purchasing and additional educational opportunities. Specialists from Columbus and Cincinnati also utilize available clinic space to offer services to patients.
“Yes, we are a smaller facility compared to others, but we have done a great job in partnering with larger, neighboring providers to bring the care our patients require to the community,” said Diener.
Through the Adena partnership, even though a patient is being seen by an Adena provider, they are having their testing and many of their procedures done at FCMH. That incoming revenue is something that is lost when a patient travels to see a specialist, officials said.
If a patient goes to Dayton or Cincinnati to see a specialist, they are going to have their blood drawn there, have their imaging done there, and have their surgery there. Not only is that patient and their family inconvenienced with having to travel back and forth to those facilities, officials said, FCMH loses out on the revenue that could be captured in Washington Court House.
Future plans for the partnership include growing primary and specialty care through joint recruitment efforts and advancing access to new technology like surgical robotics.
“We are keeping a constant eye on the healthcare industry and are committed to adapting to meet community needs,” Diener said.