Community hospitals have been struggling in the healthcare industry as they face a variety of problems, forcing many to close up shop or file for bankruptcy. Rural hospitals are vital to those who live in farmlands or in the vast Midwest, meaning many people will have limited access to healthcare as small community hospitals continue to disappear. Healthcare executive, Bill Sugg, uses his 25+ years of experience in the industry to pinpoint issues community hospitals are facing, and how those issues can be overcome.
One of the largest problems community hospitals face is the decreasing volume of patients who walk through the doors. Bill Sugg explains that this can be caused by the popularity of high-deductible health plans and larger centers that draw more people. To combat this, Bill Sugg suggests that leaders determine the root cause, whether that be a shrinking market or competitors. As larger healthcare systems use more marketing tactics and more sophisticated technologies, community hospitals must focus on staying known and monitoring reputation. Bill Sugg recommends creating a community engagement survey to target problems areas in the patient’s experience which could be giving the community a bad impression of the facility.
When community hospitals are dealing with financial burdens, it can be quite challenging to invest in new medical technologies. However, Bill Sugg explains that prioritizing the purchase of the most needed medical devices will help keep community hospitals significant in the industry. Patients are looking for the centers where they can get the best care, which oftentimes means access the most up to date technologies. To increase opportunity and/or budget, Bill Sugg suggests community hospitals look into forming partnerships. This would allow smaller hospitals to stay independent while gaining access to new benefits they may otherwise not have had.
If partnerships are not available, the next step would be to consider looking for a larger healthcare system in the area who may want to join forces. Bill Sugg notes that it is very important to find another organization that has bountiful resources and an excellent vision for serving the smaller local area. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the larger system to lose touch with the smaller local market after merging. Bill Sugg believes it is of utmost importance that the community’s needs are considered during the deal.
Throughout his management career, William T. Sugg, also known as Bill, has worked through almost every major crisis possible in a hospital setting, including deadly tornadoes, floods, fires, scandals and rebuilding the 17th most beautiful hospital in the United States. His leadership style is approachable, transparent, and people-centered. William T. Sugg believes in a strong teamwork culture that promotes respect, trust, commitment, and dedication to goals and values.