SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — Health care services for both Springfield Medical Care Systems (SMCS) and Springfield Hospital are estimated to stay relatively the same post-bankruptcy as they have been, but with hopes for greater economic revenue and efficiency for each. This is according to SMCS CEO Josh Dufresne and Springfield Hospital Interim CEO Michael Halstead, an employee of Quorum Health Services.
“I don’t think [that] it’s going to look different,” said Dufresne in an interview with the Eagle Times Thursday. “But behind the scenes a lot of reorganization work has taken place to reduce non-value added overhead and to improve and strengthen both organizations.”
In the same interview, Halstead agreed with Dufresne that the 25-bed Springfield Hospital will continue to offer medical care on a more even and consistent level, both revenue-wise and efficiency-wise.
“Springfield Hospital anticipates continuing to offer core hospital services for the community,” Halstead said. “We have a very busy emergency department that is of great value to our community, as well as our inpatient hospital services and outpatient specialty services. Our exit planning involves looking at the full process of providing high quality healthcare for the region and considering how we can do so in the most efficient and cost-effective manner that meets the needs of the people in the communities we serve.”
The bankruptcy filings differ in their respective timeframes with SMCS slated to be filed by the end of January and Springfield Hospital looking to late spring.
Part of the reason, according to both Dufresne and Halstead, is because they are separating the current organization into two distinct operating entities.
“SMCS is a smaller operating entity than Springfield Hospital, with SMCS earning approximately $30 million gross revenue and Springfield Hospital approximately $110 million,” Halstead said.
“SMCS is further along in the planning process because we are not looking for strategic partnerships which Springfield Hospital is seeking through its collaborative regional efforts,” said Dufresne about SMCS’s planned autonomy.
Halstead said Springfield Hospital is a more complicated situation.
“Currently, as an integrated system, we have a lot of shared staff and integrated operations. It’s going to take longer for [Springfield Hospital] because some of the implemented changes in terms of services and overhead will take time to be reflected in operational performance and financial results,” he said.
Halstead continued. “We have seen dramatic improvement over the past eight months and our planning incorporates projections that put us on a solid path. We didn’t get here overnight, and it is going to take time to turn the ship, but we are confident in our ability to do so.”
The discussions around developing a regional approach to shared services are ongoing and involve Mt. Ascutney Hospital, Valley Regional Hospital and Springfield Hospital, with the support and ongoing assistance of Dartmouth.
Looking to the future, a three hospital system offers opportunity for improved efficiency, and that is what SMCS officials are exploring in their discussions, according to Halstead. In the meantime, until final decisions are made and plans filed and accepted, each of the hospitals will continue to operate and be managed individually as they have in the past.
“Our goal in our exit planning is to demonstrate to the court that the organizations, with the changes made during recent months, can operate on an ongoing basis and generate sufficient cash to meet ongoing financial obligations,” Halstead said. “If the three hospitals were a part of a health care system, then health care services for the three communities could be aligned in a coordinated fashion so that they would be provided to continue access while achieving the benefits of shared economies and improved operational efficiencies.”
Halstead noted that by late spring, proper routine should be built into place for final reorganization.
“The main issue in the financial plan proposed to the bankruptcy court will be to show that the organization, with the changes made during the recent months, can operate on an ongoing basis, generating sufficient cash to pay its ongoing financial obligations,” he said.
Neither SMCS or Springfield Hospital foresee any changes in assets, according to Halstead.
“At this time, there is nothing in the financial plan that would require SMCS to sell off assets,” Halstead said.
“There has been a lot of work accomplished to date and we’ve made some great progress over the past year. We are seeing positive results that show we are headed in the right direction,” Dufresne said.
Halstead added. “There is still work to be done and, on behalf of our staff and our management team, we want to express our thanks to the community for their ongoing support in choosing SMCS and Springfield Hospital for their healthcare needs. We would not be able to accomplish this work without their ongoing support.”