Reimagining rural health care with integrated networks
REAL ECONOMY BLOG | October 30, 2023
Authored by RSM US LLP
Most recently, 23 critical access hospitals in North Dakota created a clinically integrated network which intends to enhance primary care, referrals and chronic care management by participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program. The network plans to invest in telehealth, quality improvement and IT infrastructure to address health disparities in their communities. These types of investments are expensive and would be unaffordable for each provider. As a group, however, these organizations can share the cost, justify the cost and look to improve health outcomes and access to care in their rural areas.
In addition, the newly formed clinically integrated network will receive funding from North Dakota for moving toward a value-based care model, which is less expensive than financing through a bond issuance with high interest rates, or many other sources of capital.
According to The Commonwealth Fund, other examples of rural health care partnerships like this have included in 2013 nine hospitals in Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin, in 2015 10 hospitals in Eastern Colorado, and in 2020 26 hospitals in Louisiana.
We expect more partnerships to form as headwinds like higher interest rates remain and health care organizations confront these challenges.
Partnerships may help address disparities in access to primary care
According to Main Street Health, 18% of residents in rural communities are 65 and older, compared to 16% and 14% for suburban and urban communities, respectively. Rural communities have 75 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, and suburban and urban have 68 and 71 per 1,000 residents, respectively. Yet there are only 75 primary care physicians per 100,000 residents in rural communities compared with 94 and 118 per 100,000 residents in suburban and urban communities.
The result is that residents in rural areas need more medical care and have fewer primary care physicians and specialists to meet their needs. Partnerships can address this disparity, expand offerings of care for the older rural population in need of services like urgent care or other modalities, and perhaps improve the quality of lives of all rural residents.
While partnerships like the one recently announced in North Dakota are not new, we expect providers will explore them with renewed vigor. Affiliations and partnerships focusing on supply chain management, technology adoptions and shared staffing models could become the standard for many rural health care organizations to bring value to the communities they serve.
Call us at (800) 624-2400 or fill out the form below and we'll contact you to discuss your specific situation.
This article was written by Danny Schmidt, Matt Wolf, Michael Haas and originally appeared on 2023-10-30.
2022 RSM US LLP. All rights reserved.
RSM US Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each is separate and independent from RSM US LLP. RSM US LLP is the U.S. member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax, and consulting firms. Members of RSM US Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM US LLP but are not member firms of RSM International. Visit rsmus.com/about us for more information regarding RSM US LLP and RSM International. The RSM logo is used under license by RSM US LLP. RSM US Alliance products and services are proprietary to RSM US LLP.
Weinlander Fitzhugh is a proud member of the RSM US Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms in the United States. RSM US Alliance provides our firm with access to resources of RSM US LLP, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. RSM US LLP is a licensed CPA firm and the U.S. member of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms with more than 43,000 people in over 120 countries.
Our membership in RSM US Alliance has elevated our capabilities in the marketplace, helping to differentiate our firm from the competition while allowing us to maintain our independence and entrepreneurial culture. We have access to a valuable peer network of like-sized firms as well as a broad range of tools, expertise and technical resources.
For more information on how Weinlander Fitzhugh can assist you, please call (989) 893-5577.