A tale of two community hospitals: How different leadership decisions shaped their futures

A critical decision on ownership nearly four decades ago ensured the future survival of one Arizona community hospital but potentially led to the recent closure of another, according to an article in the Silver City Daily Press

Cochise Regional Hospital in Douglas, Arizona, closed on July 31, nearly 40 years after it went from a county-owned hospital to being privately owned, and a recent history of bankruptcies and quality of care concerns.

But around the same time Cochise went private, Gila Regional Medical Center in Grant County decided to remain a public facility under a professional management company and expanded, which may be the reasons for its success today, the article reports. 

Key leadership decisions at Gila also has helped it survive in recent years when it faced financial difficulty. Instead of cutting staff as Cochise did, Gila Regional CEO Brian Cunningham told the newspaper that the organization actually hired more nurses and support staff to maintain quality of care. Instead of layoffs, Gila cut out waste and streamlined processes.

Community hospitals may be on the healthcare industry's endangered species list, with their survival dependent on the action of their leaders, FierceHealthcare reported in June. Rural hospitals have been hit particularly hard, with 50 facilities closing since 2010. Community hospitals in states that have not expanded Medicaid programs are under more pressure, as they tend to have a higher proportion of Medicaid and indigent patients.

To learn more:
- read the article

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Rural health crisis: Hospitals struggle to stay open, shift focus to outpatient care
 

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