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UCHealth Affiliation Answers

To say Campbell County Health (CCH) handled the communication regarding the Hospice House, and our potential affiliation with the University of Colorado Health (UCHealth) poorly would be a mistruth; we handled it wrong. For those of you who were hurt by our lack of action we want to extend an apology. We also want to say thank you. Thank you for holding us accountable, allowing us to take responsibility for our mistakes, and giving us the opportunity to implement change. Because of the breakdown in communication, there is a lot of confusion, questions and mistruths surrounding the affiliation with UCHealth. We want to address these, and put the facts out for our community to know.

The sad reality in 2021 is the price of everything is drastically on the rise—this also applies to healthcare costs. Each year we are seeing an uptick in costs for things like: supplies, labor, pharmaceuticals, operating costs, and equipment. While the costs are rising the amount we, the hospital as an institution, receive in reimbursements from the government and insurance companies is decreasing. It goes without saying our hospital at the end of the day is a business, and we are losing money. Even more of a detriment the money that we do have has to go towards improvements, operating costs, and overall maintenance for the hospital and other facilities, which are things that the public does not see, or are not known. Unfortunately, due to this very issue services that have come to be very important to this community have been, or will have to be, cut. It is a sad fact, but it is CCH's current reality. We desperately do not want to cut any services. We also do not want to increase the prices in our services because of the direct and negative impact it will have on you, the consumer. The problems we are facing, and the desire of CCH are at a major gap.

The question then becomes: How can we bridge this gap, and act in the best interest of the community we serve? The answer: the affiliation with UCHealth.

UCHealth is a nonprofit system with an immense level of integrity, and whose core goal is to provide the highest level of care for its' patients. CCH chose UCHealth because we felt it was most in line with our values, our vision for the future of the hospital, and what would be best for the community.

Over the past 10 days we have made a diligent effort to bring this information forward. We have been engaging and answering questions you have asked. There are six questions that seem to be overwhelmingly the main concerns of the community.

  1. What does UCHealth get out of this affiliation?
  2. Who will remain the governing body of CCH?
  3. Who will our CEO answer to?
  4. Why is it important for the CEO to be employed by UCHealth?
  5. Will a new EMR system fix the billing issues?
  6. Will you be forced to go to UCHealth for care and treatment?

While we have provided answers to these questions on various outlets, we wanted to address the top six further in depth, and reference the management service agreement so you can get a much firmer understanding of what an affiliation means for the hospital and community.

What will UCHealth get out of this affiliation?

This is our most asked question. The answer is simple—UCHealth will receive a cost plus markup of 15% on every service provided to CCH, with the exception of CCH's CEO, which is only at cost. The outline of the benefit for UCHealth is laid out in the management services agreement under Exhibit A-1, on page 19.

This affiliation is widening UCHealth's network, and it is allowing their name to be associated with CCH, and in a location they have yet to have a presence in. It allows UCHealth the opportunity for more referrals, and for their health care system to be an option for our residents if a higher level of care and treatment is needed.

Who will remain the governing body of CCH?

This question is very important, and has been brought up several times. The elected Board of Trustees will remain in control of CCH. The affiliation with UCHealth will bring no changes to that. UCHealth will have no control or authority over CCH—that will remain with the Trustees who are elected by the residents of Campbell County. You can find this information in section 1.1 Purposes, on page 1 of the management services agreement.

The third most asked question is similar to the one we just addressed, but more specific:

Who will our CEO answer to if employed by UCHealth, and how is the compensation handled?

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) will answer directly to the elected Board of Trustees. Our CEO will oversee day-to-day operations, and the Trustees will be responsible for the position's employment—see Section 1.3 of the management services agreement on page 2. The CEO being employed by UCHealth is non-negotiable, and this was the same non-negotiable demand from the other two organizations we met with (Sister's Charity of Leavenworth-St. Vincent's). Our CEO being employed by UCHealth will in no way change the Trustees authority over the position, and will in no way change their governing authority—see Section 1.1 of the management services agreement on page 1. The compensation of our CEO will again be the authority of the CCH elected Board. CCH will fully reimburse UCHealth for all CEO compensations. UCHealth is simply a pass through, but in no way does this give them authority in our administration or over CCH. In the management services agreement this information can be found on page 5 section 4.1.

Why is it important for the CEO to be employed by UCHealth?

In other management services agreements, such as those with Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie and Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, having the CEO be employed by UCHealth supports access to vast system resources, integration into a complicated system, connection into local regional leadership to pull resources, and the ability to navigate requests and ask more meaningful questions. In the past, UCHealth has supported the CEO with coaching, conflict resolution, HR or organizational development questions, and provide access to other experienced CEOs as a sounding board and networking.

If the CCH Board is not happy with the CEO’s performance, UCHealth will not be either. The two would work with the Board Chair/Executive Committee on action planning to improve performance, or other action. That is why UCHealth would attend Board meetings as a guest and check in with the Board Chair regularly.

It is no secret that CCH has had some issues with our billing and full transparency, it is one of our biggest complaints from our patients.

Will the affiliation improve CCH billing?

The affiliation will allow us to purchase a new Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system. You, the public have heard this, but what does that mean in regards to helping with the billing issues? The current system we have in our facility is not efficient, and it is not a cohesive system. Different departments are not on the same EMR system, which requires registration to occur more than once. The systems do not talk to each other, which not only can create a patient safety issue, but it allows for a larger margin of error when the correct information is to be sent to the billing department, to then be properly coded and then billed out. There are several steps in the entire process. A new EMR will allow for departments to communicate with one another. Information will be sent efficiently, there will be cohesion, and there will not be a need for multiple entries or registrations. Cutting down on the number of steps from the time the patient checks in, all the way to billing, will allow for a more direct process. This will aide in helping rectify some of the issues associated with billing.

The last question that is heavily asked is:

Will the patient be forced to go to UCHealth for care and treatment?

No, the answer is no. The decision concerning where care is received, treatment is conducted, and who is providing such care will always belong to the patient. An affiliation does not mean that you will be forced to travel to Colorado for care or treatment. CCH wants the community to know that the power of choosing where you receive care is ultimately your choice. When the situation arises that a person is needing acute care and must be transported to another facility that decision will be left to the patient. If the patient is rendered unable to make the decision for themselves, the decision will then be entrusted with the patient's family. CCH in no way will limit your choices. Recommendations will be made by medical staff, and they will provide you with the information so you, the patient, can make the best decision for yourself.

We at CCH understand that the lack of information has led to such confusion, and we realize it is our responsibility to change this. We are hoping this is a start. This affiliation is truly in the best interest of our community for the preservation and continuation of offering the services we currently do. We only will act in the best interests of the community we are so honored to serve.

Management Services Agreement

We listened to the feedback provided by the community and the County Commissioner's, and we have made an addition to the Management Services Agreement for our potential affiliation with UCHealth. Our skilled legal team has added a Restrictive Covenants which you can find on page 3, section 1.9.

Download the management services agreement between University of Colorado Health and Campbell County Hospital District d/b/a Campbell County Health.

Download Management Services Agreement

Have another question for us? Send it to feedback@cchwyo.org.

Questions from the Public

Q: Why was UCHealth selected for affiliation?

When CCH pursued an affiliation we looked at several different organizations, and we approached each discussion the same, and with the same key questions:

  1. What organization was most inline with our values as an institution?
  2. Did the organization possess a high level of integrity?
  3. Would the organization be big enough to offer meaningful assistance to our hospital now and in the future?
  4. How much control would CCH have to surrender for an affiliation with the organization?

UCHealth was not the only organization who was offering the Epic system. Billings Clinic uses Cerner. With that—CCH had to resort back to the key questions we mentioned above in making the decision. Billings Clinic is not as large and not as diverse as UCHealth, and we felt that they could not offer enough meaningful assistance for our hospital in the future.

Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth-St. Vincent’s (SCL) does use the Epic system, and that organization was looking for a buyout, which did not align with our interests—and we did not feel it was a good option for the community.

UCHealth truly checked all the boxes in meetings the needs of our hospital. They provide meaningful assistance for our hospital now and in the future, our elected board remains the governing body, they are a nonprofit organization, they have an immense level of integrity, and overall our organizations align in values.

We at CCH truly trust, and believe UCHealth is the best organization to affiliate with.

Q: What does this affiliation with UCHealth mean for our community and the future of the hospital?

The affiliation with UCHealth means includes these main positives for CCH and our community:

  1. This affiliation allows us access to a larger network with larger group buying power, and a larger discount that CCH can take advantage of when we are purchasing things like supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment. This savings we can use in other services the system offers. We can tell you that we do know we will save $770,000 a year on supplies, alone.
  2. Assistance in purchasing a new Electronic Medical Records system (EMR) that will assist in cleaning up the billing issues, which is an overwhelming complaint we receive from the public. The billing will remain separate, and CCH will still be handling our own billing. The patients will not receive payment calls, or be dealing with UCHealth billing for the services and treatments rendered at Campbell County Health.
  3. Along with improving billing, a new Electronic Medical Records System (EMR) will allow for a more cohesive system. This improvement will allow each department to communicate with one another.

Overall: The future of the hospital with this affiliation means CCH is in a much better position financially, and we remain technologically relevant so we can continue offering the current services to the community.

Q: How will UCHealth save CCH on supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment?

UCHealth is a much larger organization and they have bigger buying power, and can negotiate larger discounts that we at CCH will benefit from when we make the purchases for our facilities on things like: supplies, pharmaceuticals, and equipment.

Q: Does UCHealth have administrative authority over CCH staff?

With this affiliation, UCHealth will not have any administrative authority. CCH will remain its’ own entity, and the elected board of Trustees will remain the governing body of our health care system/hospital. Our CEO will continue to oversee day-to-day operations, and the elected board will remain in charge of that positions’ employment.

Q: Does the affiliation put our nurses and staff in a position that they would have to travel to Denver in support of UCHealth if they are overrun for such things as a pandemic? Would it be optional if so?

No. CCH employees would not be working for UCHealth facilities. Nurses and staff employed by CCH will remain employed by CCH.

Q: Why is it that each department at our hospital can't seem to share our information?

The affiliation with UCHealth will help us to purchase a new Electronic Medical Records System (EMR), which will allow for a more cohesive system. This improvement will allow each department to communicate with one another, and not require that the patient complete new forms in every area.

Who do I contact if I have any comments or concerns?

Please send any comments or concerns to feedback@cchwyo.org.

Statement on News Record article

The June 22, 2021, article published in The Gillette News Record, CCH working budget proves lots to work on, by Jake Goodrick this morning we feel was fair, truthful, and accurate. While the message conveyed may not paint CCH's financial situation in the best light, we want to remind the community that we are committed to acting in their best interest. This article laid out our numbers in an accurate manner, and as stated by our CFO in the article, "it's not rosy, but it's realistic." We feel the article shines another light on the importance and the need for CCH to affiliate with UCHealth. While we understand the affiliation will not solve all of our financial issues-it will go a long way in helping us. ~ CCH Leadership Team

Read here

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