With Medicare and other payers shifting to value-based-care business models, rural doctors face a fundamentally changing marketplace, a pair of rural healthcare leaders says.
Physician engagement is crucial to shifting to value-based healthcare in rural communities, says Kevin Halter, CEO of Ashland, KY-based Bon Secours Kentucky Health System, which features 215-bed Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital.
"My biggest challenge is getting my physicians educated on the front end because they all see the wave coming. And that's true for any of the new initiatives—bundled payment and financial changes like& MACRA are in the journals, but it's not right in front of them as it is in places like Richmond, Virginia."
Bon Secours Kentucky Health System is part of the Marriottsville, MD-based Bon Secours Health System, which operates 19 acute-care hospitals in six states and has more than 25,000 employees.
Halfway across The Bluegrass State in Elizabethtown, Hardin Memorial Health features a 300-bed acute-care hospital. Hardin Memorial is affiliated with Louisville, KY-based Baptist Health, operator of eight acute-care hospitals with a total of 2,700 licensed beds.
Primary-care physicians are crucial players in the shift to value-based care, says Hardin Memorial President and CEO Dennis Johnson.
"You don't have to employ every physician on the planet, but you do need to drive the primary care referrals... And if you have good primary care, you are going to be able to manage a population's health."
Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care editor at HealthLeaders.