SOUTH RENOVO – Bucktail Medical Center has taken an important step towards its transformation into a rural critical care access hospital.
The hospital – which also operates a nursing home on its campus along the West Fork of the Susquehanna River here – announced that it now contracts directly with its doctors, instead of using and paying for an agency which referred physicians to BMC and billed the institution. for their services.
“Instead of paying an agency for doctors and letting them bill for medical services, we contract directly with each doctor and bill for the services they provide. With this change, you will now receive a single bill that includes hospital charges and doctor’s fees,” BMC CEO Timothy Reeves told The Express in a prepared statement. “This cost-effective change allows us to set lower fees for the services we provide in our ER, which will translate into more reasonable charges on your bills. Same doctors, same service, cheaper, one bill.
Reeves said when he arrived at BMC about eight years ago “We realized there were a lot of services that were being outsourced.”
“We fixed most of these issues early on, but the medical services remained. The reason that was an obstacle is that the agency, in our 2012 agreement, stipulated that if we wanted to contract with a doctor, we had to buy out their contract. It cost over $40,000.
“The agency we were using had internal changes and wanted to renegotiate the deal. We no longer use the agency.
“They collected all the money from the medical services, plus we paid them a monthly fee. Now we can bill both technical fees and professional service fees on one bill, so patients will no longer receive two bills, one from the hospital and one from the doctor.
“In addition, we can now set the rates for services provided to emergencies. We are setting our fees to be more reasonable so that the number is more reflective of the services we provide,” Reeves explained.
Bucktail currently has contracts with four doctors, Reeves said, but expects to see two or three more in the future.
The hospital and retirement home employ around 80 people.
BMC has financial and personnel issues, like most healthcare institutions.
Reeves recognizes this.
BMC is a 43-bed Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), 16-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH), Rural Community Health Clinic (RHC), with basic ambulance service.
Located in the middle of northern Pennsylvania and in the Pennsylvania Wilds, BMC is probably the most remote healthcare facility in the state.
The hospital dates back to 1909 as Renovo Hospital. In 1979 the facility was moved across the river to South Renovo when the SNF was added to the hospital and renamed The Bucktail Medical Center.
BMC has always struggled financially: in 2015, the institution filed a voluntary petition for a Chapter 11 reorganization.
The hospital was released from Chapter 11 in 2018. “Healthcare, especially recently, is a rapidly changing industry. Here at Renovo, Bucktail Medical Center has successfully overcome many challenges. Our commitment to the community, however, remains at the center of our efforts. BMC recently launched an initiative to reshape the organization to meet the health care needs of West Clinton County,” he said.
“Our dedicated physicians are essential to our success. Since 2012, an agency provides our doctors and therefore the agency also charges for the services provided by the doctors. We have often heard that the charges seem quite high and that getting one bill from the hospital and another for the doctor can be confusing.
“The BMC Board and Administration are working hard to assess and respond to the health needs of our communities and we are taking the necessary steps to be a medical center that everyone is proud to support. This important first step allows us to introduce new initiatives and services that promote a healthy community. But this is only the first step. We are actively planning and will have more exciting news soon,” Reeves also announced.