Yes, 50 is enough, in fact, 50 may be more than enough!
There’s been a lot of discussion and even more confusion about our plan to go to 50 available beds. If GVMH has 50 or fewer beds we can receive significant reimbursement benefit of around $1 million per year and we don’t have to do anything different than we are doing today.
Let me help you understand the facts:
- GVMH is currently licensed for 84 beds and that will not change. When we declare we have 50 available beds we will still be licensed for 84 beds. For all intents and purposes we do not have the space or staff to care for 84 beds even if the demand were there, which it’s not and I’ll explain that next.
- Our average daily census from April through December 2010 has been 30. That’s 22 acute and 8 swing beds. When we move to 50 available beds the swing beds do not count towards the number so we could theoretically still have 50 acute care patients in-house. We have not had 50 acute care patients in-house at one time for years and years and years.
- When we go to 50 available beds we will have all private rooms and once our current construction is complete there will actually be 53 beds in-house and as I said in the previous section, up to 50 of those beds could be occupied by acute care patients.
The reason there has been so much discussion and concern about the move to 50 available beds is because we’ve had bed shortage issues for the past few weeks but the shortage has not had anything to do with our move to 50 available beds.
It’s a busy time of year. Historically, our census, like all hospital’s census, tends to jump in December, January, and February. People get sick this time of year. It’s flu season, chronic respiratory problems are worse this time of year, pneumonia is a bigger problem this time of year, people tend to have elective surgeries at the end of the calendar year because they’ve met their deductible and so on and so forth. Our current bed shortage is further complicated by construction.
We have several rooms unavailable because of the renovation project that started on the third floor and is now occurring on the second floor. If all of our rooms were available there would not be a bed pinch at all. Over the past couple months we’ve been down between 6 and 8 rooms consistently due to construction and renovation.
Once renovation is complete and we re-open the 6 rooms that are currently unavailable the concern about bed availability goes away immediately and by transitioning to 50 available beds, which I promise will meet the needs of our community 365 days a year, we stand to benefit financially.
In this time of declining reimbursement and uncertainty related to health care reform it’s important for us to take advantage of every opportunity we have to strengthen our financial position so we can continue to provide staff, technology, facilities and services in the manner our patients and community have come to expect. Going to 50 available beds is an easy to benefit the organization by doing nothing!