By Melissa Brooks
We did a very large marketing campaign before we opened (in September 2012), and we were very focused on saying that we wanted to be the medical destination for the residents of Central Montgomery County. We believed we were building a facility that would provide high-quality care services that hadn’t been offered in this community, and that is still what we are very focused on. It’s what we have been doing for the 120-some days that we’ve been open, and what we will continue to do in the future.
Do you have an early understanding of the hospital’s market share?
The actual market data we get from an outside source lags behind several months, so it’s too early for us to scientifically say what percentage of the market we’ve captured. But our volume across the board has been higher than what we had anticipated, and we are seeing a great response from the community. I believe that’s because we’ve been able to live up to the promise that we made before we opened the facility, and while we have not been perfect, we continue to fine tune our processes, we continue to bring more staff on board and we are raising the bar and are focused on being that medical destination.
Which areas of care have exceeded projections?
An area where we’ve seen significant volume has been in obstetrics. We have delivered about 40 percent more babies than what we had anticipated … and I think that’s a great example of how the community has responded to having this facility in their backyard. Clearly this volume would have gone to some other institution, but it’s come to us. And I think that’s a reflection of the physicians we have on staff, but it’s also a reflection of the building itself.
What’s observation status, and how does that classification impact the hospital financially?
Insurers have said that in order to reduce the amount of health care costs, if a patient doesn’t necessarily need to be admitted … but needs to be monitored … they get put in a status called observation. From the hospital’s perspective, we’re paying the exact same amount than if they were admitted, but the insurance company is saying, “We will pay you a lesser amount for providing the exact same care.” As this has become a significant part of health care, in existing facilities — unless you renovate — you have to designate some space for (observation). We needed to be more efficient, and one way we could do that is … in a dedicated area with a dedicated staff. Since many of these patients come through emergency, it makes sense to do this (next to) our emergency department so we don’t have to transport them and we’re not utilizing an inpatient bed, which is an expensive resource. Because we were able to build from the ground up, we were able to design it that way.
What are the major initiatives for 2013?
From a programmatic perspective, we are going to be focusing on building and growing our robotic surgery program, our breast surgery program, vascular surgery, and our primary care network.