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CHWC Gets More Federal Money, But Not Enough To Save Archbold



Community Hospitals & Wellness Centers will receive about $1.2 million in additional revenue from the federal government, but it won’t impact a decision to close the Archbold Hospital inpatient and emergency rooms.

The federal government Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services designated CHWC a “Medicare Dependent Hospital,” which makes it eligible for additional Medicare payments of about $100,000 per month.

But Phil Ennen, chief executive officer of CHWC, said Monday, “The monies are welcome, but will not change or affect our decisions in Archbold.

“One reason is that we do pick up about $1.2 million with this change, but we are losing $800,000 to the Ohio Hospital Medicaid Tax.

“The (additional) Medicare payments are really just helping us cope with the tax losses,” he said.

Archbold Closing

Ennen announced in the Aug. 11 edition of this newspaper that Archbold Hospital inpatient rooms and emergency room would probably close, resulting in the loss of about 30 full-time equivalent positions.

The decision is up to the CHWC board of directors. The directors meet today, Wednesday.

Ennen said at that meeting, he will present recommendations to the board, which will probably include the Archbold closing.

Ennen said in the Aug. 11 article that inpatient and emergency room business did not grow as CHWC offi- cials thought. Then, after the national economy faltered in late 2008, CHWC’s other enterprises were no longer able to carry Archbold’s inpatient and emergency rooms.

Brown

In a May 26 letter to Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Sherrod Brown, senator, (D-Ohio) said the tri-state area of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana “has been hit particularly hard by the economic downturn, with current unemployment rates hovering above 15%.

“(CHWC) has been hit signifi cantly hard by the loss of jobs, and therefore, private insurance coverage. The people it serves have become more dependent on Medicare payments. As a result of the economic picture in the region, (CHWC) was forced to lay off employees in April 2009. However, they continue to experience financial losses.”

In the letter, Brown noted a delay in government approval of the CHWC fiscal year 2007 report. Submitted in February 2008, the report still has not been approved.

“Since CHWC has already waited eight to 14 months longer than normal to apply for the designation as an MDH (Medicare Dependent Hospital), I ask that CMS work to expedite the process of granting an MDH status.

“I realize this process typically takes 60 days, but I cannot emphasize enough how the additional Medicare payments are needed immediately,” Brown said.–David
Pugh



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