Q&A with Jake Erickson, CEO of Bingham Memorial Hospital

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Q&A with Jake Erickson, CEO of Bingham Memorial Hospital

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | November 19, 2019
From the November 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HCB News: What attracts staff?
JE: I think it’s the culture. Even though we’re a robust, small hospital with just over 1,000 employees, it still feels like a small, tight-knit community within our organization. Seems everyone knows everyone, they’re members of the community and we just work well together. There’s a strong culture of compassion that we’ve been working on over the past three years. So much so, that we’ve been certified as a healing hospital.
We have a great benefit package and our pay is comparable to anywhere else. But we put more emphasis on compassion and caring rather than just numbers and driving the bottom line. So I think we’re a place where professionals feel they can practice their skills and what they’ve learned and be supported by management while doing it. I think people come here and enjoy that. People in healthcare want to help people. And that’s certainly our focus.

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HCB News: What is the management style/culture like?
JE: It goes along with our vision statement which is high quality and high compassion. We have a strong focus on patient safety and quality too because obviously you can be the most caring, but if you can’t fix anyone, then you’re not doing your job.

HCB News: Can you talk about your patient mix? Rough percentage that’s private insurance versus Medicare?
JE: We’re about 45 percent Medicare/Medicaid and probably 50 percent commercial, and 5 percent which we consider self or cash pay. We feel pretty blessed in our area because of our high percentage of commercial payors.

HCB News: What kinds of challenges does your hospital feel day to day?
JE: Even though we have a good amount of commercial payors, reimbursement challenges still exist.
The other challenge that continues to come up is our expenses. The cost to provide healthcare continues to go up, but reimbursements don’t go up with it, they actually go down. For instance, being able to hire physicians — before, they ran their own practices and would bring cases to the hospital. We didn’t need to provide all those resources on the clinic side. Today, we employ about 150 providers, so we have to manage and run 150 practices and staff them, bill and collect for them, and all the other costs involved with running a practice. Physicians are also in great demand, so we have to pay a premium to get them to come to a rural community. And then continue to build their practices even though they might not be as robust a practice as they’d see in a more populated community. We have to balance that compensation with productivity to make sure we have what we need with our community, but we make sure we’re not paying so much that we can’t afford it.

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