Safety-net hospitals often face challenges while serving the complex health needs of their communities. By definition, these hospitals have fewer resources than their counterparts and provide care to patients regardless of their income status or ability to pay. Given the ubiquity of this scenario, the micro-hospital is, going forward, a very affordable option to meet the needs of these resource challenged communities. Micro-Hospitals can focus on the community instead of trying to keep up with large-scale infrastructure maintenance and the myriad of costly challenges related to upkeep and compliance that come with them. They are small but punch above their weight, with much smaller capital expenditures and much lower expenses. Micro-Hospitals can deliver macro community impact. For struggling urban communities with limited resources, Micro-Hospitals are the solution.
The future of healthcare need no longer be focused on centralized care and the large urban hospitals of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. In the Twenty-First Century, a 300 plus-bed hospital need no longer be the standard. Technological advancements, so many outpatient procedures, and greatly reduced lengths of stay even for surgical procedure, are dictating a new future for modern American healthcare. Big hospitals just don’t make sense any more. Micro-Hospitals simply deliver more bang for the buck.
So why are healthcare administrators reluctant to let go of an over-supply of beds? The industry has traditionally rewarded high-bed count hospital leadership. The more beds, the more responsibility, the higher the salaries and degree of recognition. When the bar is set as the institutionalized status quo, any industry will find it hard to move the bar. In fact, ancillary laws and institutions grow up around them to help perpetuate their existence regardless of changing or changed market conditions. CON boards sound familiar? Even as these major urban healthcare facilities become ever-more economically unwieldy, changing the status quo to meet the changed circumstances of what amounts to a changed market remains nigh on impossible.
We must stop this mindset, rethink, re-envision, and start to change the focus from bed counts to quality outcomes. This new mindset is crucial going forward. It’s not about inpatient volume. It’s about meeting your community needs with high quality care. One of the most promising of the called-for solutions going forward is the development of the community-focused Micro-Hospital. The smaller scale of the Micro-Hospital makes for a smaller footprint, that helps with placement in areas seen as landlocked; Micro-hospitals result in lower community healthcare costs while presenting a keen focus on needed services like an emergency room within a high-risk neighborhood. The Micro-Hospital model is an effective vehicle to provide much needed comprehensive emergency services in an urban community with a full and efficient hospital supporting this important venue of care.
Here are five reasons why a Micro-Hospital is a better structural fit for communities in need of greater access and affordable care:
- Micro-Hospitals present a much more affordable way to provide focused healthcare services for safety-net hospitals ($7-50 million dollars per);
- Micro-Hospitals are built around a much more streamlined and lower-cost management structure, staffing structure, and facility model (10, 25, or even 50 beds);
- Micro-Hospital are more affordable to build and operate than re-investing in high cost redesigns, renovation, and updating of an old, inefficient building in need of major repairs such as outdated HVAC systems, in-efficient floor plans, non-compliant room sizes, and antiquated multi-patient rooms;
- Micro-Hospitals cater to a specific community need; they help eliminate waste; they focus on specific service lines: emergency, outpatient diagnostics, behavioral health, medication administration, outpatient surgery; andThe focused services provided by Micro-Hospitals allow for a more streamlined, qualified, and efficient team of healthcare providers. Streamlining efforts result in efficiency. Micro-Hospitals allow for specific training, addressing the unique needs of any community.
A micro-hospital must meet all the same federal and state requirements as does a large, traditional hospital. The community gets everything required from its hospital, just in a smaller, more economical and more economically sustainable package. Micro-Hospitals can also continually expand their outpatient reach if needed as a community grows and changes. Greater flexibility means enhanced sustainability. Micro-Hospitals bestow macro benefits upon their host communities.
If you are contemplating a growth strategy, the Micro-Hospital model should be reviewed as a possible viable option. Advis is a nationally-recognized expert in feasibility, development and operations of Micro-Hospitals. For more information or for assistance in implementation and/or review of your strategic plan or project, please contact our offices at (708) 478-7030 or via our website.