ECRH was not the only provider of care in the community. There was a for-profit hospital, Banford Medical Center (BMC), that had been purchased by a large publicly traded for-profit health system about 10 years ago. The for-profit health system was the largest in the country. The CEO of this hospital was good at optimizing performance because of the weaknesses of ECRH and its leadership. He was an effective opportunist.
BMC has 400 registered beds with a current occupancy rate of 85%. They have been effective at taking market share away from ECRH. For each loss of service line market share by ECRH, BMC has shown proportional gains. After the acquisition of BMC, the for-profit immediately moved to build a new facility. This new facility is located on the growing wealthy edge of the community. Additionally, at the time that this new facility was developed, the for-profit syndicated ownership to the physicians. The highest level of syndication occurred with the obstetrics and gynecology physicians in the community. Therefore, women’s services deteriorated at ECRH. It should be noted that this physician syndication occurred before the Affordable Care Act was passed, which precluded hospital ownership by physicians.
It is important that additional information is provided regarding ECRH. ECRH recently purchased 100 acres of land across the interstate from BMC. This land is located northwest of Chester. The intention is to eventually build a new medical center on this location. The initial planning of this land has occurred, and it has been approved to build a regional oncology center on this site. The construction of the project is already underway with an anticipated completion in 6 months.
In addition, ECRH has an orthopedic hospital attached to the current ERMC site and a behavioral health hospital at this same location. ECRH also has two ambulatory surgical centers that are conveniently located on the growing northwest and southwest side in the community. The one surgical center is located on the 100-acre development site. The orthopedic hospital has done well and has been listed in the top 100 orthopedic hospitals. However, the behavioral health hospital is losing significant dollars, so the Board of Directors for ECRH has decided to close this hospital. ECRH has also developed a joint venture imaging center with the radiologists. This center resides across from a major shopping area in the community. It is conveniently located near heavily populated neighborhoods and shopping. The only downside is the location is not close to physician offices that would refer to this center. However, if a new facility is built on the 100 acres, which would include physician offices, the imaging center will be in an ideal location. Leadership is developing a free-standing emergency center on the 100-acre site, which is on the northwest side of Chestnut.
The last competitive issue is the location of a medical school and hospital in the city of Chestnut. The facility resides in a downtown location. This medical school had been established by the state nearly 45 years ago and is associated with Greenbranch University. It mostly serves the indigent community in Chestnut and the surrounding area. This academic center has a rather negative reputation in the surrounding area. There are four other medical academic centers in the state as well as a medical center with a world-renowned reputation. There have been ongoing rumors that this world-renowned organization was planning on assuming the responsibility of the Chestnut academic center. This change would substantially alter the complexion of the local medical community if it were to occur. Speed in ECRH dealing with some of its market issues is an imperative.
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