California hospital boosts operating margins with hospitalist partnership

In an era of cutbacks and bad financial news for hospitals, one provider has increased its operating margins from negative in 2011 to more than 6 percent in 2013, according to a new case study.

Fairfield, California's North Bay Medical Center increased its operating margins from negative 2.1 percent four years ago to 6.3 percent in 2013, due in large part to a partnership with surgical hospitalist organization Surgical Affiliates Management Group Inc.

"Our evolution to become the county's most advanced, full-service hospital, required a 24/7 surgical team that could provide the best care, when our patients needed it," said Deborah Sugiyama, president of North Bay Healthcare Group, in a statement to press. "Our partnership with Surgical Affiliates Management Group ensures we can provide the community with high-quality, reliable care."

Hospitalists are increasingly a fixture in hospital C-suites, due in large part to their knowledge of hospital operations and "problem-solver outlook," FierceHealthcare previously reported.

As part of the partnership, North Bay and Surgical Affiliates expanded the hospital's Level 3 trauma center to qualify for a Level 2 designation. The expansion allows the trauma team to immediately see more traumatic injury patients rather than have them wait to transfer to a better-equipped facility.

North Bay is Solano County's busiest trauma facility, with a trauma case volume twice that of the county's designated trauma center, according to Gary J. Passama, president and chief executive officer of North Bay Healthcare System. Since the full trauma service was implemented in 2012, the hospital's number of trauma cases requiring a transfer are down from 145 a year to 27, and total trauma volume is up 183 percent, according to the case study. The hospital also plans to expand emergency services to accommodate the increased volume.

To learn more:
- read the case study (registration required)