Corporate sponsors are not only an important resource for funding for the mission of NOSORH, they are experts in rural health and often partners to the State Offices of Rural Health. This important work will be featured in a series of articles over the next few months.
Many NOSORH members are familiar with iVantage Health Analytics as the analytics firm powering the NOSORH Performance Leadership recognitions. The company’s Hospital Strength INDEX® is the basis of many of rural healthcare’s most prominent awards and is used by organizations such as NOSORH and NRHA in support of their advocacy and legislative initiatives.
Each year, iVantage Health Analytics develops the Rural Relevance Study: Vulnerability to Value, as a means of quantifying the rural hospital value proposition and offering analytic transparency around the landscape’s defining factors. Today’s rural hospital leaders face unprecedented complexity and uncertainty, and iVantage has helped more than 750 rural and CAHs integrate sophisticated analytics for benchmarking performance, which aid in their strategic decision making process. iVantage helps hospitals deliver high quality care at low cost to maintain their status as the cornerstone of their communities.
iVantage has a strong track record in numerous states for providing detailed reports to state partners to satisfy Flex grant requirements. They have developed proprietary technology to aggregate individual hospital performance data into simple, easy-to-read reports for state partners that exceed grant requirements and provide valuable local and national benchmarks for use in network meetings and other activities.
Since 2009, iVantage has been working with the Ohio State Office of Rural Health (OHSORH) through the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to develop an Ohio CAH network collaborative centered on performance benchmarking, monitoring and improvement. Ohio CAHs perform above the national benchmarks in almost all areas of focus, including Quality and Financial performance. iVantage’s work with the OHSORH helps support the exceptional performance of the 33 CAHs across the state of Ohio. A CEO/CFO work group for Financial and Operational Performance Improvement was also developed in Ohio in order to “move the needle” and to realize improvement to the bottom line. Financial data on all Ohio CAHs was captured and a monthly data feed was instituted, serving as a jumping off point for the true performance improvement work to follow. National, regional, state, and hospital-specific benchmarks were created and targets were established for improvement. Based on the findings, the CEO/CFO work group determined cost efficiency and productivity as well as revenue cycle improvements through managed contract optimization.
One Ohio CAH in particular, The Morrow County Hospital, has embraced benchmarking data to plan and execute at both a local hospital-level and at a network-level. iVantage has helped Morrow County Hospital target under-performing measures (Benefits, Supplies, Lab, Productivity, etc.), removing as much as $1,500,000 in excess cost, without mandates. This type of work is paramount to preparing Ohio CAHs for Cost Transparency, which is critical in the new health care environment.
“Intuitively, you always think you can do better. But actually putting your finger on where the opportunity might lie was difficult. With iVantage, we’ve been able to compare ourselves to other like hospitals,” said CJ Miller, President and CEO of Morrow County Hospital.
Thanks to iVantage for their ongoing support and to the Ohio Flex Program (funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Federal Office of Rural Health Policy) for sharing these examples of great collaboration.
Tina Turner has been the Ohio State Office of Rural Health Director for the past four years. Prior to that she served as the FLEX Program Coordinator for seven years.
In your position as Director of the Ohio SORH, what three skills are most important in order to do your job efficiently?
As Director what is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge as a leader in rural health is that many times the area of health concern has the least amount of funding and resources available. Rural communities and health care providers identify challenges and concerns years before they become a federal budgeting priority, in most case. However, the lack and absence of funding doesn’t make the challenge or concern go away and you must use creative ideas and partnerships to address them.
What do you like best about your job?
I love the variety of my responsibilities from seeking and attaining funding, creating and evaluating programs, conference planning, managing budgets, programs and staff, linking stakeholders together, witnessing clinics and hospitals improve their financial, operational and quality functions, and improving the health of all Ohioans in rural areas.