MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Hospital continues to strive to provide quality services at a time when rural health care “is under attack.”
CJ Miller, MCH administrator, told Mount Gilead Kiwanis Club members April 10 that small, rural hospitals have closed and merged nationally.
“Just this past week one hospital closed in Belmont County in Ohio and another one in Indiana. Another 600 in rural counties are considered at-risk,” Miller said.
One factor is government reimbursements have changed and another is “consumerism, where people shop around for health care services.”
The local hospital has worked with its board of directors and OhioHealth, which manages it, to make the necessary cuts.
“Last year we reduced our FTEs (full-time employees) from 243 to 200. Those are hard decisions,” he said.
Among those was the decision to close three departments at the end of 2018 — the Sleep Lab, Cardiopulmonary Rehab and the Coumadin Clinic.
“We aligned our services to what the community supports,” Miller said. “We want to be everything for everybody, but we can’t be.”
He said MCH is “an independent, county-owned hospital that has been managed by OhioHealth since 1984.”
The relationship with OhioHealth is important, Miller maintains, because it allows MCH access to specialty care, legal and operational advice. An example is a cardiologist available to Morrow County residents.
Miller cited three major points of emphasis in moving forward:
• Securing primary care physicians.
• The long-term management of the hospital.
• Having the commitment of OhioHealth for the partnership.
Orthopedic expansion is in the future and oncology and neurology are coming this fall, he said.
“Everyone … the board … all of us are trying to steer the hospital toward a successful future,” Miller said.