Keystone Healthcare™ is a leading provider of Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, critical care medicine, and telehealth management services with small community roots. We deliver high-quality emergency and inpatient care to our communities through innovation and efficiency for improved services and financial optimization. Healthcare organizations in rural environments face a particular set of challenges that Keystone Healthcare™ is expressly set up to address and overcome.
In this blog, we discuss common challenges encountered by rural healthcare facilities and how our solutions and approach deliver benefits to patients, providers, and hospital administrators alike.
Common Challenges Faced by Rural Facilities
Rural facilities are an essential part of the U.S. healthcare system, and their success is integral to the health and well-being of rural America. However, rural facilities are also plagued by various operational challenges, evidenced by the high turnover of physician management groups that fail to recognize the individual needs of a facility, be it stand-alone or part of a larger system. Common pain points include:
Even in a market where EM physicians are in more supply than market demand, large healthcare groups struggle to recruit quality physicians to rural markets. Without robust recruitment infrastructure and significant visibility, recruitment remains a challenge for rural facilities.
Having a solid provider roster is particularly difficult in rural settings. Scheduling proves challenging and costly without innovative solutions or creative staffing models, both of which require a deep understanding of the local environment and access to broad operational infrastructure.
Poor Patient Experience
Many rural facilities fail to recognize the importance of fixating on a positive, patient-centered experience to capture and safeguard the loyalty of individual patients for future healthcare needs. Rural facilities commonly risk damaging their reputation, which in turn encourages patients to look elsewhere for their healthcare needs.
No Economies of Scale
Due to the isolated nature of rural facilities, many have difficulty achieving economies of scale. Innovative, infrastructure-dependent solutions prove to be nearly impossible.
Even with Critical Access Hospital (CAH) designation, most rural hospitals struggle financially due to low reimbursement rates, increased regulations, reduced patient volumes, and uncompensated care. Most don’t have access to the financial expertise required to be financially sustainable.
Keystone Healthcare™ Solutions for Rural Hospitals
Keystone Healthcare™ is pioneering telehealth technologies in Emergency Medicine and Hospital Medicine to solve overlooked challenges. It’s not just about having the technology—instead, it’s about having an engaged partner to architect telehealth solutions that impact patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, and ultimately your bottom line. We work closely with organizations to apply telehealth technologies in ways that uniquely solve challenges. Our portfolio of telehealth solutions spans the entire patient experience, from pre-hospital to post-discharge.
Our team is helping solve some of the toughest patient engagement challenges by using AI-enabled technology to engage with patients in a meaningful way, intervene quickly and at scale, and continuously measure performance. Learn more about Keystone Connect™.
We intentionally maintain a smaller portfolio of partners to dedicate time and attention to each partner facility. We have a track record of consistently growing our program volumes by assimilating to the community we’re serving and taking pride in our local presence and ability to deliver the resources, time, and effort needed to succeed. We understand that organizational sustainability and readiness are more important than growth, and we maintain a strategy that prioritizes a high-engagement partnership model. We find gratification in caring for underserved areas. Strong, onsite leadership is the cornerstone to our success and critical to establishing an expectation of community engagement and positive culture at the site level.
Revenue Cycle Expertise
Keystone Medical Billing Services (KMBS) has provided dedicated revenue cycle management since 2014. Our approach includes a highly skilled team of revenue cycle professionals, a patient-advocate-centered philosophy (that does not balance bills), annual coding audits by nationally recognized third-party auditors, and direct and real-time physician education and feedback. Our revenue cycle expertise has allowed us to succeed in the most challenging payor environments.
Stakeholder Collaboration & Alignment
Our Executive, Medical, and Operational Leadership Teams deliberately form close working relationships with hospital administration at every partner site. We take a metrics-based approach to managing our hospital services and work transparently and collaboratively with all hospital-based stakeholders to seek constant improvements against the core measure and key metrics. To note, we dedicate Nurse Liaisons to focus on the intersection between Keystone Healthcare™ clinicians and on-site nursing staff to ensure both groups are aligned and collaborating regularly.
Hybrid EM / HM Programs
When rural programs have smaller volumes, you have to find cost-effective efficiencies. We have refined our hybrid program to share resources across EM and HM programs to create a genuinely aligned operation that is synergistic and sustainable through shared resources.
Overcome Your Rural Operational Challenges
We have had success in even the most challenging rural environments. We continue to refine our operation and philosophy to allow underserved and overlooked rural facilities to have access to market evolution and advancements for the benefit of patients, providers, and hospital administrators alike.
Get in touch with us to achieve better outcomes in your rural healthcare facilities today.