Hospital board makes decision: Home Health Care cut loose

AVEM merger effort scrapped; directors seek closer Mercy ties

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 11/30/22

HERMANN — It’s official: Hermann Area District Hospital’s Home Health Care Program will be shuttered at the end of the year. An effort to find a successor parent agency for the …

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Hospital board makes decision: Home Health Care cut loose

AVEM merger effort scrapped; directors seek closer Mercy ties

Posted

HERMANN — It’s official: Hermann Area District Hospital’s Home Health Care Program will be shuttered at the end of the year. An effort to find a successor parent agency for the service will continue, says hospital Administrator Dan McKinney.

Also at Monday night’s special session of the HADH Board of Directors, it was decided that because of internal issues within AVEM — a management firm based in Oklahoma — the hospital’s effort to negotiate a lease that would have the firm take over operations at HADH has been scrapped.

In its place, HADH officials will be working to establish closer ties with Mercy Hospital. An effort in recent years to have Mercy take over the Hermann hospital was rejected, although the affiliation between the HADH and Mercy Hospital Washington has remained in place.

The Home Health Care Program, which relies primarily on reimbursement from Medicaid and other third-party payers, has been a drain on the hospital’s bottom line. It’s estimated that by the end of this year the program will cost the hospital more than $200,000.

There are a half-dozen employees in the program, including three registered nurses, a licensed practical nurse, a physical therapist and an assistant. Those employees likely will be given an opportunity to take one of the available positions throughout the hospital’s operations; but as noted at this month’s regular board meeting last week by the program director, it’s possible the employees will decide against joining the hospital staff because of longer work days.

One of the problems making the program a costly proposition is the rural nature of the hospital district with homebound patients scattered throughout the service area. Travel time for the staff was considerable in some cases, which affects the time available for providing the needed services. Further, the head of the program, a registered nurse, was spending much of her time doing clerical paperwork and trying to collect payment from the third-party payers rather than providing nursing services to the patients.

The talks aimed at crafting a merger agreement with AVEM was sidelined in recent months after little progress was being made. McKinney explained to the directors during an earlier board session that internal issues at AVEM were being dealt with, taking the management firm officials away from the merger discussions.

Hermann Area District Hospital staffers in the Home Health Care Program made 177 home visits in October, according to recent figures provided by administration.

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