Posted: Friday, August 9th 2013 at 10:35am
Habersham Medical Center gets assessment results
By Derreck Booth Editor
DEMOREST - As a part of its strategic planning effort with Northeast Georgia Health System, Habersham Medical Center (HMC) has a new assessment to prepare for the future.
Called the New Era Readiness assessment, hospital officials said it reveals HMC's strengths and weaknesses.
According to hospital officials, the report by consulting firm Kaufman Hall showed several weaknesses, including the hospital's information technology system, physician integration and financial strength.
April James, Business Development Coordinator at Habersham Medical Center said the physicians, staff and board were not surprised at the results.
"We knew that there was some areas that we needed to improve upon, mainly our financial situation, and that's why we did the assessment in the first place to see where those improvements can be made," James said.
According to a news release from the hospital, HMC has sustained operating losses since 2009 and has more than $35 million in outstanding debt because of the recent renovation.
James said finances are an issue for many community hospitals across the country. While the report found HMC needed to improve its IT system, that costs money.
"With all of the new mandates coming down from the affordable care act, smaller hospitals just can't keep up with all of those mandates and price tags that come along with those," James said.
The assessment did find positives.
"Our diagnostic equipment is up-to-date, our facility is up-to-date and we provide excellent quality care," James said.
Melissa Tymchuk, Director of Public Relations for Northeast Georgia Health System, said the Gainesville-based organization went through the same Kaufman assessment several years ago.
"It's very insightful, it gives you a great picture of where your hospital stands, where your health care system stands in relation to national averages."
The two entities now are expected to take the assessments from both organizations and work together to determine what type of enterprise model might be in each organization’s respective best interests, according to David Kerby, chairman of the Hospital Authority of Habersham County.
“Using Habersham Medical Center’s assessment, along with a recently updated readiness assessment Kaufman Hall conducted for Northeast Georgia Health System, we can find areas of strategic alignment that move both of our organizations along the continuum of readiness,” Northeast Georgia Medical Center Hospital Authority Board Chairman Benny Bagwell said.
HMC President and CEO Jerry Wise said the two systems are working toward a finalized agreement later this year.
Officials from both organizations announced the joint strategic planning effort last year.
© Copyright 2013 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.