CHI St. Joseph’s Health Park Rapids, MN:
CHI St. Joseph’s Health is located in Park Rapids, a rural town of 3,276 in north central Minnesota that serves as the county seat for Hubbard County. Approximately 200 miles northwest of Minneapolis, St. Joseph’s is the sole area provider of hospital services for the 20,718 residents of Hubbard County as well as portions of Becker, Cass and Wadena counties (~ 3,800 square miles). CHI St. Joseph’s Health mission is as a non-profit faith-based organization focuses on nurturing the healing ministry of the Church and the creation of healthier communities.
CHI St. Joseph’s Health is a 25-bed critical access hospital which provides full-service inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, hospice, a community dental clinic, orthopedic surgery and is one of a Center of Excellence for bariatric surgery. In FY18 the hospital had about 5,100 inpatient days, had 9,800 emergency room visits and over 3,700 surgeries. We also own and operate a community dental clinic and provide public health for Hubbard County. The nearest hospital to CHI St. Joseph’s Health is over 30 miles away and the nearest tertiary referral center is 90 miles away.
The hospital has 22 active staff members, nearly 78 consulting specialists, 4 Emergency Room physicians, 3 Hospitalists, 3 dental providers and approximately 300 employees. St. Joseph’s is the area’s second largest employer and contributes more than $40 million annually to the local economy.
As a growing rural resort area with over 140 lakes and 8,000 acres devoted to recreational use in the area, it is a busy tourist area in the summer. Hubbard County can see an increase of population up to over 50,000 in the summer months, which results in an increase of patient volumes. Citizens of Hubbard County are generally older with a median age = 48.3) and poorer ($46,412 median household income compared to Minnesota at $60,828) than the state averages. In Hubbard County, 12.6% of our residents live below the poverty level compared to Minnesota at 11.5%2 and 8.8% of people are uninsured. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services Hubbard County has an average monthly enrollment of 5,332 enrollees in medical assistance programs. Twenty-five percent (25%) of Hubbard country residents are on Medicaid and nearly 25% are on Medicare.
Through the first ten month of our current fiscal year, St. Joseph’s has about $1.2 million in Bad Debts and $900,000 in Charity Care. In addition, Minnesota has a two taxes (MinnesotaCare Tax and Medicaid Surcharge) that we pay into annually that add up to about $1.1 million.
THE BENEFITS OF THE 340B PROGRAM:
One of the largest benefits we see with the 340B program is our ability to pass savings to the patients. The 340B drug program provides additional savings for rural hospitals to maintain service lines that aren’t profitable. One such example of this is in Park Rapids, Minnesota where CHI St. Joseph’s Health operates a community dental clinic. This dental clinic accepts Medicaid eligible and self- pay patients only. Local dental clinics will not accept Medicaid Patients due to the poor reimbursement level from Medicaid. As a result, these patients have limited options to seek dental care. Oral care is an important part to a person’s overall health. Annually, the dental clinic serves about 7,000 patients. Without the support from 340B funding, CHI St. Joseph’s Health may need to consider closing the community dental clinic. As a result, roughly 7,000 patients would no longer be able to receive dental services in our community. In addition to the program, CHI St. Joseph’s Health has many other examples of services that may otherwise not be able to be provided without 340B savings. Some of these include:
- Transportation – CHI St. Joseph’s Health will pay the cost of transportation home from the emergency department or the hospital for those that do not have options for a ride home.
- Health and Wellness Classes – Many health and wellness classes are offered at an operating loss for the hospital including: “I can prevent diabetes”, Tai Chi, our MOVE program (exercise program); foot clinics, blood pressure checks, grief support groups, childbirth education classes, Parkinson’s exercise and wellness program, “A Matter of Balance”, and caregivers support group.
- Healthy Park Rapids 2020 – The is a group of community members who gather to develop and support
- Parish Nurse Program – St. Joseph’s sponsors parish nurse training for congregations in our service area. Presently 9 parish nurses are being supported by our nurse coordinator.
- Senior Companion program – St. Josephs’ sponsors this program, which was started by Lutheran Social Services. It provides volunteer opportunities for seniors to help other seniors live independently by providing friendship and assisting with errands.
- Car Seat Giveaway – St. Joseph’s offers an infant car seat to all parents that deliver their baby at our facility.
- Bili Blanket – St. Joseph’s provides a Bili blanket free of charge for babies with elevated blood bilirubin levels upon discharge from our facility so they do not have to remain in the hospital.
- Hospice Care – We provide Hospice services and volunteers trained in end-of-life support to hospice clients and their loved ones.
- Financial Counselor – A staff person provides outreach to uninsured individuals in our service area to assist them with enrollment into State funded health insurance programs (Medicaid)
- Violence Prevention Program – This programming has centered on mentoring, the promotion of fatherhood and family resources in the community and ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and a commitment to make our community trauma-informed.
- The FATHER Project – Offers case management and training opportunities for non-custodial fathers. This includes parenting training classes, couple-strengthening courses, leadership training and employment readiness.
- Obstetrical services are provided at a financial loss for the facility. Over 50% of our patients are on Medicaid and reimbursement does not cover the care of the care provided.
To-date estimates of expense reductions: $34,371 (estimated through 6/10/2019)
IMPACT IF THE 340B PROGRAM WAS SCALED BACK:
If any or all of the services above were cut or eliminated it would have a direct impact on overall community health and wellness as well as health outcomes. It would also increase overall health care expenses if access to preventative services were eliminated.
Contact information for CHI St. Joseph's Health, CHI St. Joseph's Health Community Dental Clinic, Hospice Care, Community Health, Physical Rehabilitation and Fitness Center, and Weight Management Center. Click here
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