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Will the 'Save Rural Hospitals Act' save rural hospitals?

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | December 06, 2015
From the December 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The system has also recognized the correlation between mental health and many chronic diseases, having therapists see patients in an outpatient setting, in the ER and at the medical home. While the Carolinas HealthCare System’s new model might not be workable in every market, it could be something that some health systems can look to for inspiration. “I think this model could work in most rural communities, but you have to have the resources and we’re fortunate to be part of a health care system that has [resources such as] telemedicine,” Lutes says. “It’s a challenge for most rural hospitals if they’re not part of a health system. But, from a care perspective, it’s the right model for rural communities.”

While Lutes declined to reveal specifics about the hospital’s financial picture, he says the model is financially feasible. “It’s a financially sustainable model that allows us to pursue our mission,” Lutes says. “If we were operating under our previous model, it would not be financially sustainable.”

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