How a wellness center can slash your hospital's expenses

In-hospital wellness centers were once the purview of only the most cutting-edge health systems, but they're becoming more common as care value becomes increasingly important to the healthcare business, according to Healthcare Finance News.

As hospitals shift away from fee-for-service models, actively managing patients' health and keeping them healthy so that they don't return to the hospital is good for providers' bottom lines, according to the article. Moreover, hospitals increasingly incorporate wellness principles into the care they offer, using specialists such as exercise physiologists to help patients establish concrete wellness goals.

"We can look at health risk factors and are well-trained to provide a program to help mitigate those risks," Scott Kashman, chief administrative officer at Florida's Cape Coral Hospital and a regular blogger for Hospital Impact, told Healthcare Finance News. "We also assess everyone annually to follow changes and provide accountability."

In lower-income regions, community health centers are filling a similar population health-focused niche, with California's centers offering services such as a food bank, behavioral health resources and legal aid, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Hospital wellness centers have an advantage over a gym membership, Benjamin Spence, chief financial officer at Lee Memorial Health System, told the publication, because, as healthcare entities, they invest more in staff competencies. The centers are predominantly for-profit, with returns on investment as high as 10 percent, according to the article. In addition, Spence said that they reduce expenditures on healthcare needs such as beds in the long term, significantly lowering overall spending.

Funding sources for wellness centers vary, according to Healthcare Finance News, with some larger hospital systems able to self-fund, while smaller facilities usually must find equity or retail partners. Going forward, either maintaining or partnering with a center will be an increasingly non-negotiable aspect of running a hospital, said Robert D. Boone, president and chief executive officer at the Medical Fitness Association in Richmond, Virginia.

To learn more:
- here's the article