Genesis HealthCare designated a Sole Community Hospital

Organization will recoup Medicare reimbursement losses

Zanesville Times Recorder

ZANESVILLE -- Genesis HealthCare System lost about $1 million in physician Medicare reimbursements this year while waiting to be recognized as a Sole Community Hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Losses could have been about $6 million this year, leading to cuts in services and staff, if federal legislators had not stepped in to cut through bureaucratic red tape and help obtain the new designation, Genesis CEO Matt Perry said Wednesday.

Genesis obtained SCH status Monday. It is a special designation available to qualifying hospitals that are located more than 35 miles from other like hospitals, or located in a rural area and able to meet a number of specified criteria. Application for this designation was made in October 2010

Genesis becomes the fifth health care system in the state to become an SCH, joining Coshocton County Memorial Hospital, Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon, Ashtabula County Medical Center and O'Bleness Memorial Hospital in Athens.

Although a reduction was made the first two months of this year in the reimbursement amounts -- Medicare pays 80 percent of cost for physicians services and patients pay the other 20 percent and are typically about $500,000 per month -- Perry said Genesis was able to shoulder the burden without affecting services while awaiting word on the SCH designation. About 40 percent of Genesis' 16,000 annual admissions, or 6,400 patients, are covered under Medicare.

"People received the same levels of care even though there was a small handful of months with a smaller reimbursement," Perry said. "It just goes to show what a community of people can do when it pulls together. We've got great physicians, great nurses, great services and we deliver all of that at a great value. This is really a positive all of the way around."

Perry said it could have taken months or years to get the reclassification without the assistance of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Steve Austria and Rep. Bob Gibbs.

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