There is hope on the horizon for hospitals in Mexico and Fulton

story by Matt Pilger, editor

It’s a question you hear almost every day if you live in County Audrain and County Callaway. Have you heard of hospitals opening in Mexico or Fulton? On March 25, 2022, Noble Health, the then owners of the hospitals closed both sites saying they would restructure and then reopen.

Most people already know what happened next. On April 20, 2022, less than a month later, Noble Health sold the hospitals to new owners Platinum Health for $2.00. Last month (September), administrators at Platinum Health Systems informed Callaway staff that they would not be reopening their hospital, then later emailed employees stating that all positions at both hospitals closed had been deleted. The future of reopening hospitals again looked very bleak. A deadline loomed in September for the reopening of hospitals.

After weeks of meeting with community members and hospital staff, a businessman named Owen Shuler traveled to Jefferson City with Community Hospital CEO Amy O’Brien. ‘Audrain, to determine the level of state support for Mr. Shuler’s vision for reform. healthcare by implementing corrective revenue cycle management with advanced technology systems integration. Introducing new administrative and compensation methodologies into healthcare operations is generally met with resistance, even though the cost savings significantly reduce the financial burden on families. As these two hospitals are currently non-operational, new methodologies may be discussed in the hiring and onboarding process as systems and procedures are modified and modern technologies used to manage workflow and patient tracking. Preventive care and health maintenance standards minimize more costly catastrophic events. Sharing cost savings with physicians allows primary care and specialty care providers to share in the success of a healthier population.

Shuler is the CEO of privately held Shuler Capital Corp, which he started in 1986 to manage distressed real estate and recapitalize impaired limited partnership general partners. Since then, he has been active in the fields of energy, aviation, defense and transport. In 1997, he returned to the family healthcare business when he developed a revenue cycle management optimization plan, validated by Arthur Anderson, to streamline billing, collections and administration while focusing on physician-patient engagement to improve quality of care and patient outcomes. His family owned and operated a skilled nursing facility from 1954 to 2004 where he was exposed to the initial implementation and adoption of Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s, as well as all the dynamics of the nursing industry. health. Although he’s the first to admit this is his first opportunity to own a hospital, he’s comfortable with the prospect, saying “the natural fit with his technologies and experience direction makes sense,” quickly admitting that the process of executing a successful turnaround is based on team strengths. Although it claims to be just a “junior college,” it relies on the “college team” around it, including many community members who work selflessly to bring back health care. quality but affordable healthcare in our communities.

Behind the scenes, several community leaders say Mr. Shuler is pursuing this deal the right way and making sure all his ducks are lined up before he says anything. A community leader who wished to remain anonymous said: “He (Owen) asks the right questions and does his due diligence. If this had been done before, the community would not be in the situation it is in now. .” One of the biggest challenges facing the deal is some of the legal issues around billing, predatory lending used by Noble Health, and legal issues around indemnity insurance by Platinum, including unpaid vendors and employees. . Another community member wishing to remain anonymous said “Mr. Shuler’s top priority is to get ex-employees paid, get doctors hired to handle emergencies, and get contractors in place to run hospitals at a high level”. Currently, hospitals in Mexico and Fulton have a deadline of December 20, 2022 to have their operating licenses reinstated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

If a new owner buys the hospitals, this period could be extended up to an additional 90 days, but this option is not provided. Will hospitals remain closed in Mexico City and Fulton? It’s a question that remains to be answered, but it looks like there may be a way forward.

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