“Charting a new course in healthcare management”. So reads the copy on Prime Healthcare Services website and with good reason. The Ontario, CA, based healthcare system continues to expand its growing network of 14 acute care hospitals throughout the State.
Over the past decade, Prime has steadfastly adhered to a strategy based on sound business principles without ever compromising the quality of patient care. While many hospitals failed to keep up with the increasing costs of providing care to patients in the face of dramatically declining reimbursement rates, Prime saw an opportunity to revive ailing hospitals.
The word ‘profit’ has traditionally been taboo in the world of healthcare but the reality is that financial success can go hand in hand with quality medical care and Prime has proven it time and again. By employing a progressive and innovative management model, Prime is now recognized as the top performing healthcare network on the West Coast.
Community hospitals have to operate for the long run and in order for this to happen, medical care and financial success have to go hand in hand. Prime are gradually changing the mentality that health care is not supposed to be profitable. Ensuring that a hospital can support itself financially may seem a novel concept for some, but for Prime, a hospital must be operated in a way that will allow it to sustain itself even the toughest economic times.
Prime identifies community-based hospitals that are deep in the red and on the brink of closure. Following a successful acquisition Prime steps in and turns the hospital into a profitable and quality functioning operation. Sometimes it can involve tough decisions about redeploying staff and resources but every effort is made to minimize the impact on the community.
Hospitals are now seeing a larger percentage of acutely ill patients who need a higher level of care as insurance companies are sending more patients for elective cases to diagnostic centers. In today’s tough economic climate emergency rooms are being flooded with patients with no money and no insurance. Recent data shows that 35 to 40 percent of emergency room patients are without means to pay for their medical bills. In addition, patients are waiting until the eleventh hour to come to hospital emergency rooms and often have multiple medical issues that consume a lot more resources than the cost of providing preventative health care.
Following an acquisition, Prime invests millions of dollars into the infrastructure, including technological investments such as paperless records systems, new medical equipment, and digitalized radiology and information systems to provide up to the minute clinical and financial data. Prime then looks at the operational side focusing on five core measures to successfully run its hospitals: clinical quality efficiency, morality, medical complications, patience safety and average length of stay conforming to clinical standards of care.
The flow of patients is critical and Prime has established an impressive performance record in its ERs. Prime expects patients to be seen by a physician within 30 minutes of entering the emergency room.
Prime is viewed as something of an anomaly in the healthcare industry but continually defies the skeptics who are resigned to the notion that small hospitals can not survive. In the meantime, the accolades, awards and recognitions keep pouring in. Thomson Reuters Research identified Prime Healthcare Services, Inc. as one of the Top 10 United States Health Systems based on clinical performance. Of the 252 health care systems that participated in the polling of the clinical data, Prime was the only health care system chosen west of the Mississippi. The study relied on public data from the 2006 and 2007 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data and the CMS Hospital Compare data sets.
Prime’s Desert Valley Hospital and West Anaheim Medical Center were named two of the top four California medical facilities on the Modern Healthcare Top 100 list. Three of Prime’s hospitals (West Anaheim, Centinela Hospital Medical Center and La Palma Intercommunity Hospital) were named on US News and World Report’s 2009 Best Hospitals’ List.