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Keokuk Area Hospital Recruiting Patients


The leadership team for Keokuk Area Hospital says the facility is ready to grow, after months of downsizing and restructuring.

The hospital's Board of Directors brought Fitch Healthcare onboard in January to manage the hospital. 

The suburban Chicago firm had previously been working with the board as consultants before signing the two-year management contract.

Since Fitch Healthcare came on board, a quarter of the hospital's staff has been laid off (308 to 233) and programs such as obstetrics have been closed in an attempt to get the facility out of the red.

President Duane Fitch says the cuts, while extremely unpleasant, have done what they were supposed to, in terms of the budget.

He says they cannot account for the entire deficit that has built up for years.

Fitch says that is why an effort is underway to show residents that Keokuk Area Hospital can meet their medical needs.

"The ultimate driver of (the hospital's) success is going to be the community and the medical staff," says Fitch, "and we would invite and request the community to continue to support the hospital."

Fitch made his comments following a meeting between the Board of Supervisors and the hospital's administrative team.  He says similar meetings are being held with other organizations to spread the word that the hospital is open for business.

That is important to note because Fitch says the hospital’s upcoming budget relies heavily on a significant increase in the number of patients served.

He says 8% is needed because on average, for every $1.00 billed, Keokuk Area Hospital receives about $0.40 in reimbursements.

Fitch hopes recent staff additions, including an orthopedic surgeon and a mid-level professional who focuses women’s health care, can help with that.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.