Nordwick: New hospital reflects changes in care
Plans to build a new $84 million hospital behind the present facility on Garner Field Road reflect the changing face of health care in Uvalde County and across the nation, according to Uvalde Memorial Hospital chief executive officer/administrator Tom Nordwick.
“I think what people want in health care is to get in and out and not in a hurry-up mode,” Nordwick said of the trend towards out-patient services, which comprise 70 percent of the treatment being delivered in the present facility. He added that because of pressure from private insurance companies and government funders it has become “harder and harder to get people qualified for in-patient care.”
That trend, as well as planning for a new building, was the catalyst for UMH’s recent reclassification as an Acute Care Hospital (ACH). Formerly licensed as a 66-bed Primary Care facility, the new designation limits the institution to 25 beds for inpatients but at the same time provides for government reimbursement at cost for services delivered rather than the DRG (diagnostic related group) structure that paid set fees for different treatments. The ACH designation will also help in funding the new facility.
According to Nordwick, the 25-bed limit on in-patients will not affect care as the average daily census is now 11.6 and has not exceeded 18.2 in the last four years. Nor is the four-day maximum stay allowed hospitals with ACH status expected to crimp the delivery of care. Nordwick, who began working at UMH in February of 2014, said the average length of patient stay over the last 25 years is 3.3 days.
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