Hiawatha Community Hospital to close Home Health Agency
Submitted by Amy Puvogel
Hiawatha Community Hospital announced Monday, Jan. 8, that it will be closing its Home Health Agency no later than April 30, 2018.
“It is with a heavy heart and after significant consideration, Hiawatha Community Hospital will no longer continue to offer home health services to the consumers of Brown County and the surrounding areas. This decision is directly related to the regulatory and financial barriers set by Medicare which limits the hospital’s ability to financially sustain a hospital based home health program” said Jeff Shelton, CEO. “The decision to end offering home health services was very difficult and came only after the HCH Board of Trustees, Medical Staff and Leadership Team carefully reviewed the historic financial performance of this service-line and the reimbursement barriers created by being a Critical Access Hospital with a hospital based Home Health Agency.”
Before the official announcement related to the closure of the program, Shelton noted that the hospital’s leadership team met with the employees of the Home Health Division to announce the closing of the service-line and provide transparency as to the regulatory and reimbursement barriers that led to this decision.
In addition, Shelton shared that he did not want this decision to result in gaps in care for local consumers nor the loss of good employees. He also added that all efforts will be made to transition current Home Health personnel to vacant positions currently open within the hospital.
Shelton shared that those Home Health patients currently receiving services from the agency would begin to receive notifications of the agency’s pending closure via mail beginning Saturday, Jan. 5. He shared some of the details of the consumer communications including the Hospital’s commitment to assigning specific Hospital personnel and Home Health staff to assist current patients in identifying the agencies that may be available to continue providing home health services.
If you are an individual who has received home health services from the Hospital’s Home Health Agency in the past, the Hospital will maintain your records within a secure location of the hospital for a 10-year period, in the event they are needed for future reference. If past or present home health patients have any questions concerning the request of your home health medical record, please contact Hiawatha Community Hospital’s Medical Records Department at 785-742-6245.
The decision to cease providing home health services is not an indication of the future viability of the Hospital. Shelton went on to say that “in 2017 the organization experienced significant quality and financial improvements that are believed to be the key to the organization’s ongoing success.”