Public Q&A - OSF Affiliation

 

Updated January 16, 2020

 

Responses to Frequently Asked Questions about OSF Affiliation

This update has been compiled in response to questions asked by residents of Princeton and its surrounding communities.  Additional content will be shared throughout the affiliation process.

Perry Memorial Hospital, OSF HealthCare, and the City of Princeton appreciate the community’s interest, engagement, and participation in current talks about bringing Perry Memorial Hospital into the OSF HealthCare Ministry. As progress toward a potential change of ownership and full integration continues, we collectively pledge to keep residents of Bureau, Putnam, and Marshall counties informed and equipped with the latest information. As a reminder, should you have a question that has not already been addressed, we invite you to submit it digitally at: https://perrymemorial.org/osfdiscussions

The questions below were received over the past few days. For integrity and transparency, we are sharing the questions exactly how they were received. For additional information, please read our previous update published January 12.


Question

Why have past Perry administrators such as Robert Senneff been able to turn debt into a workable budget with surplus?

Answer

Robert Senneff began as the CEO of Perry Memorial Hospital in 2000. There have been many changes in the financial management of hospitals in the past twenty years that have created challenges to the development of surpluses, including declines in the reimbursement rates for Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial insurance companies; increased costs in all aspects of hospital expenses; increases in the number of Medicare and Medicaid patients, for which reimbursement rates are lower than commercial insurance reimbursement rates; increases in outpatient care that is reimbursed at a higher rate; the increase of managed care rather than patient choice of health care provider; and the closing of industries in the local area. Hospitals, like many other industries, are finding that affiliating with larger hospitals or health care systems provides greater opportunities for financial success with shared resources, operational efficiencies, improved purchasing power, and better contracts with payers. Training opportunities and innovation budgets also give staff and providers improved skills to provide quality services.


Question

Why did the hospital build a $5,000,000 facility just this past year when it was facing large debt?

Answer

The decision to build the new clinic, which was not to exceed $4,500,000, was made in February of 2019. At that time, the hospital was preparing to make its final payment on its debt for the major renovations that had been completed in the emergency department and other areas of the hospital. This payment was scheduled to be delivered the following month in March. Operating with the understanding that the hospital essentially had no debt, the decision was made to move forward with the clinic. It is true that when an audit was performed at the end of the fiscal year, that errors in reporting were discovered and the hospital was not yet debt free. However, the clinic was an integral part of our strategic plans to meet the communities’ needs for primary care services, and has already proven to be an asset.


Question

Why couldn’t the unused space currently available in the hospital been retrofitted for our community’s use instead of building the $5 million dollar facility?

Answer

The former third floor clinic area had already been renovated two years earlier, but with the increased number of nurse practitioners and two new internal medicine physicians, there was not enough space to efficiently provide care. The new clinic building would provide an improved wheelchair accessible facility and parking. In addition, there were plans to house increasing telehealth and mental health services at the new facility. The construction of the clinic would provide for more efficient use of space for both current and new services that would better serve our patients and allow them to receive health care services in our own community. The former clinic space would provide more efficiencies for other Perry Memorial specialties, such as surgery and podiatry. As outpatient services increase, more space is needed to reduce overcrowding in other areas.


Question

Why with hospital income being so important, has the billing of Perry Memorial’s services been so negligently overseen as evidence by bills mailed to patients a year over the service date and Medicare billing coded improperly and in an untimely, costly way?

Answer

Perry Memorial Hospital recognized an opportunity to improve its billing processes and procedures, and hired a revenue cycle consultant last year to conduct an assessment. The consultant was able to work with the administrative team to produce and implement an action plan, complete with specific timelines for optimization. We are pleased to share that Perry Memorial Hospital is currently following industry best practices and is meeting all targets for improvement.


Question

Why are the citizens of Princeton after 100 years of support giving Perry Memorial Hospital to OSF for $1?

Answer

Perry Memorial Hospital has met the needs of the community for more than 100 years and it is our collective responsibility and in our best interest to do what we can to ensure that quality health care is delivered right here, in our community, in the years ahead.

As the health care landscape has evolved, more and more small hospitals have found tremendous advantages associated with being a part of a larger organization. Our forward-thinking board members and administrators realized an affiliation would ensure that the community would receive the very best health care moving forward.

Both Perry Memorial Hospital and OSF HealthCare have a shared goal to maintain and grow quality, local health care services for Princeton and the communities within Bureau, Marshall, and Putnam counties. OSF HealthCare is known for its innovative approaches and already offers the access to technology, clinical expertise, and other resources necessary to provide care in the future.


Question

What will happen to the 150 or more employees who will most likely be losing their jobs after the OSF takeover – what will this economical loss mean to businesses and home sales? What will the loss mean to those families who may have to move out of this community to find skilled jobs as they had at Perry? It is a well-known fact from other area OSF takeovers that OSF claims to increase services but, they shut down services with serious loss of jobs as the result.

Answer

As shared in our January 12 update, OSF will offer to employ all Perry employees, including leaders, who are eligible for employment with OSF and whom OSF determines are needed to staff the hospital or local OSF facilities. We do not expect any disruption in services in any departments or areas.

Additionally, before any discussions would occur regarding changes to existing structures, the OSF team will first take the necessary time to better understand the unique health care needs of our community.


Question

What will happen to patients who need emergency services at night? How will no emergency surgeries after business hours effect the elderly who must be transported elsewhere?

Answer

Our emergency department will remain open and operational just as it is today. We look forward to our emergency department being further strengthened through our partnership with OSF HealthCare.


Question

How will our community fare when Perry’s contributions for local causes no longer exists? When local requests for support are made at OSF in Peoria, there will be no community tie to understand and support the need - only a blanket policy stating that OSF cannot support every community’s needs.

Answer

OSF HealthCare provides a tremendous amount of community benefits. Every year, OSF allocates a budgeted amount of money for community support and sponsorships. Sponsorship and charitable contribution considerations are specific to the counties served by OSF HealthCare. Additionally, all fundraising dollars raised in the community will be used in accordance with donors’ wishes, which means money is dedicated to supporting local needs.


Question

I have had difficulty being able to find the legal agreement regarding the merger with OSF. I am especially interested in knowing anything about the provision of decisions in the future if OSF should want to close the hospital here. Due to COVID concerns and major national issues going on currently I feel very much in the dark about this important decision. I am sure many other local citizens feel the same way.

Answer

The affiliation agreement is a public document that is available to anyone interested in reading it. It’s a 50-plus page document that can be found on the city of Princeton’s website, under the city council tab, in the Jan. 4 agenda packet. (To be automatically taken to this packet, click here.) Copies can also be requested from Princeton City Hall.


Question

What services will be available at Perry after OSF takes over? Is there a commitment to keep a full hospital in Princeton?

Answer

It’s built into the affiliation agreement that any major operational changes would not even be considered within the first several years. OSF is committed to using its best efforts to continue operating our hospital under the same status, including inpatient care. Together, we will continue to evaluate and respond to the patients and communities we serve.


Question

What will be the status of the ownership and control of the hospital building and grounds with this affiliation?

Answer

The affiliation agreement involves a transfer of ownership that would transfer full ownership of Perry Memorial Hospital to OSF HealthCare, including all assets. The name of the hospital would change, and the board of directors would become an advisory board. The Perry Foundation would become part of the OSF HealthCare Foundation; however, the current and future local foundation funds would remain committed to health care needs in the Princeton area.


The questions and answers below were received as of January 7, 2021.


Question

What insurance will be accepted at the Princeton hospital should it become part of OSF HeathCare, and how will laboratory testing be handled?

Answer

OSF HealthCare accepts a wide variety of health insurance plans. A listing of insurance plans, current as of December 22, 2020, is available to the public online at https://www.osfhealthcare.org/billing/insurance/plans/. As a reminder, the OSF value of justice affirms the personal worth and dignity of every person served, regardless of race, color, religion, or ability to pay for care. More information about insurance and specific processes including laboratory testing will be available as decisions are made throughout the due diligence process.


Question

A past news article cited concerns about billing errors and payor reimbursement expectations. Is Perry presently undertaking any work in follow up to this story?

Answer

Perry Memorial Hospital recognized an opportunity to improve its billing processes and procedures, and hired a revenue cycle consultant last year to conduct an assessment. The consultant was able to work with the administrative team to produce and implement an action plan, complete with specific timelines for optimization. We are pleased to share that Perry Memorial Hospital is currently following industry best practices and is meeting all targets for improvement.


Question

Will individuals currently holding leadership positions at Perry Memorial Hospital be offered contracts or guarantees of employment, if/when there is a change of ownership?

Answer

Through the affiliation agreement, OSF will offer to employ all Perry employees, including leaders, who are eligible for employment with OSF and whom OSF determines are needed to staff the hospital. We do not expect any disruption in services in any departments or areas. Additionally, before any discussions would occur regarding changes to existing structures, the OSF team will first take the necessary time to better understand the unique health care needs of our community.


Question

Will questions asked by members of communities served by the hospital be answered in a public way?

Answer

Yes, we are committed to continuing to share news and information with the public – including answering specific questions as they come in.


View previous Press Releases and Affiliation Information

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