by John W. Mitchell
, Senior Correspondent | February 09, 2021
From the January/February issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
The rural hospital difference
Two of the hospital administrators in the 2020 Spotlight series spoke to the rural hospital point of view. Dolan Dalpoas, CEO, Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, began his career as a hospital technician, then physical therapist, before moving up to leadership. As with many small rural hospitals, his staff serves many more outpatients — about 85 percent of their patient mix — than inpatients. Their patient population is older, which means Medicare is their biggest payor.
Recruitment, for nurses, pharmacists and physicians, is especially a challenge for rural hospitals.
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“Unless they’ve come from a small rural town, it’s hard to attract to a small rural town,” said Dalpoas in our July issue. “Knowing that, we’ve taken steps to provide educational grants and so forth to local students who want a career in healthcare. It’s kind of like what I ended up doing. Because you never know who’s going to lay down roots and stay in your hometown.”
Lincoln Memorial recently received the prestigious Environmental Excellence Award from the nonprofit Practice Greenhealth. The award recognizes both energy and resource conservation efforts, such as reducing waste in the OR, and forming a community health collaborative to advocate for health improvement outside the hospital walls. These include opening a farmer’s market to sell fresh, local produce and partnering with the city to build a walking trail.
Wesley Hoyt, COO Hutchinson Healthcare System, parlayed a career in the Army medical service corps into civilian life when he retired from the military in 2016. He was looking to work and live in a small-town community.
“We’re the largest employer in our community. There’s a commitment when you have that, but it’s also a very strong obligation to do the right thing,” he explained in our March issue. “We do that, we understand that, and we take it seriously. Our health affects the community health.”