Wednesday, August 22, 2012

GRMC’s 2011 Annual Report Available

Grinnell Regional Medical Center released its annual report, “Mission Possible,” that summarizes the hospital’s activities and finances during 2011. The annual report can be found online at
The past year welcomed several huge successes for the community hospital. Topping the list are the installation of new anesthesia machines and surgical equipment; transition to electronic medical records, and an exceptional survey review by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals. Recognition also came in the form of better reimbursement beginning in January 2012 from Medicare. 

“Sometimes, running a hospital feels like an episode of Mission: Impossible. We have a limited amount of resources and we hold the health and wellbeing of thousands of area residents in our hands. We do have some pretty elaborate equipment to save lives—just like super agents. And we do have some amazing people who can do what seems to be the impossible through their expertise, innovation, and creativity,” says Ed Hatcher, president of the GRMC Board of Directors. “And, GRMC was seen on TV – in two different news segments focusing on positive activities.”

Included in the other major advances, GRMC installed the new 1.5 T Hitachi Magnetic Resonance Imaging unit; relocated wellness services to Postels Community Health Park; launched Grinnell Regional Family Practice, and transitioned the ownership of Deer Creek Health Center.  Through a generous donation, GRMC was able to expand continuing education opportunities offered to staff.

“Fortunately, many vision-focused individuals chose to support GRMC’s mission and vision. We reinvested in new equipment, such as the MRI and anesthesia machines. We funded training and development of staff and supported the medical community. We provided healthy living education and programs to those we serve. Our mission also assures that we deliver care to those in our community who cannot afford to pay,” Hatcher says. “In 2011, the amount of uncompensated care reached $36,267,358 – the highest level in the medical center’s history. This staggering amount includes charity care, bad debt from those who did not pay us, and the largest part from discounts the government takes from Medicare and Medicaid charges.”

The economy was difficult in 2011 and yet giving to support GRMC increased. GRMC’s 2011 annual fund drive raised almost $378,166 from 778 donors. Simultaneously, 190 donors contributed $140,000 to upgrade the hospital’s anesthesia machines.   Total giving through memorials, annual fund drive, and special events reached $684,536 during 2011.  

This support helps fund the operations of GRMC. Total operating revenue from all sources totaled more than $75 million – this includes patient charges, grants, and other revenue. However, the medical center is not able to collect all the patient charges, primarily due to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement policy and commercial insurance deductions. Because of the size and location of the medical center, GRMC is severely disadvantaged compared to other rural hospitals in Medicare payments. In 2011, GRMC had total deductions of $36.2 million, which allowed GRMC to end the year with a net revenue of $38.8 million. Total expenses were $42 million, leaving a total operating loss of $3.4 million.

“In 2011, GRMC worked further to reduced costs over 2010, through expanded group purchasing, shifts in costs for services using our Mercy Health Network relationship, and personal sacrifices by staff with the hopes that a short-term forfeit of benefits provides a long-term benefit for the hospital and the people we serve,” says Todd C. Linden, GRMC president and CEO.

“Fortunately, the future looks much better given the improvements to GRMC Medicare payment starting in 2012 as part of the healthcare reform legislation and our wonderful success recruiting physicians and mid-level providers. With continued reduction in our expenses the past several years and these improvements which will enhance revenues, I am confident we have turned the corner financially,” Linden says. “After seven months of the current fiscal year, we are operating in the black with a positive margin of nearly $350,000 which is $2,300,000 better than the same point last year. This is a significant improvement by any measure and has only happened due to the hard work of everyone associated with our excellent medical center.”

For the complete financial report, the lists of donors, and all the successes in 2011, go to Click on the “About Us” link, then the “Annual Reports” link.

For a printed copy of our donors or more information, please contact Jan Veach, GRMC office of communications and development, at or 641-236-2946.

Medical Center’s Community Benefit Report Released

Grinnell Regional Medical Center provides more than $9 million in community benefits to the GRMC service area, according to a recently completed assessment of those programs and services.  That amount, based on 2011 figures, includes $1 million in uncompensated care and $2.7 million in free or discounted community benefits that GRMC specifically implemented to help area residents. These numbers are in the medical center’s annual report to be released this month.

Community benefits are activities designed to improve health status and increase access to healthcare.  Along with uncompensated care (which includes both charity care and bad debt), community benefits include such services and programs as health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, and community support.

The results for GRMC are included in a statewide report by the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) that shows Iowa hospitals provided community benefits in 2011 valued at more than $1.4 billion, including nearly $600 million in charity care.  All 118 of Iowa’s community hospitals participated in the survey.
“Our mission drives GRMC and takes our work beyond the walls of the hospital. A top priority is making every effort to improve the health of the communities we are privileged to serve. Another priority is delivering care to those in our community who cannot afford to pay,” says Ed Hatcher, GRMC board chair. “It’s also about traveling to elementary schools to fit every third-grade student in our service area with a quality bike helmet to help prevent head injuries. It’s about health fairs, educational opportunities like the SE*ED program, support groups, and the Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair.”

GRMC also provides support to after- prom parties, babysitting courses, community CPR classes, and other community health services.  

The IHA survey gathers data for programs and services implemented in direct response to the needs of individual communities as well as entire counties and regions.  Many of these programs and services simply would not exist without hospital support and leadership, according to Kirk Norris, IHA president and CEO.

But the ability of Iowa hospitals to respond to such needs is being hindered by the ongoing economic downturn as well as by huge losses inflicted upon hospitals by Medicare and Medicaid, totaling more than $274 million (a 5.8 percent increase over last year’s report).  The cost of providing care to Medicare patients in 2011 was $4 million more than Medicare paid. There was a $1 million gap in payment from Medicaid patients.  More than 60 percent of all hospital revenue in Iowa comes from Medicare and Medicaid.

“GRMC’s level of Medicare reimbursement has improved in 2012 thanks to efforts working with our congressional delegation in Washington, DC, to include a demonstration project in the healthcare reform legislation. As a result we will receive an annual increase in reimbursement of about $1 million for the next five years,” says Todd Linden, GRMC president and CEO. “Although still well below our costs, this will have a significant impact on GRMC’s financial standing and ability to meet community needs.

Iowa hospitals continue to implement strategies that increase value to their patients and communities by offering high-quality care to individuals, addressing the health needs of identified populations, and implementing process improvements that bend the cost curve.  By seeking out ways to raise quality, reduce waste and increase safety, Iowa hospitals have become value leaders, as shown in multiple studies by the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care and the Commonwealth Fund.

“Most studies show Iowans receive some of the best care at some of the lowest costs in the nation. We still have work to do, but this does put us in a good position going forward as healthcare reform unfolds. When one adds the community benefits this study highlights, it all adds up to a very good value for those we serve,” says Linden.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Have A Hoopla

“You don’t have to hula hoop to have a hoot at this year’s Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair,” says Jennifer Cogley, Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair committee member. “You will have a hoopla with all the activities as well as our guest speaker, Theresa Rose.”

The 2012 Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair will be Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 4:30 to approximately 8:30 p.m. in the Grinnell High School. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, Aug. 15.

“Each year we work to find a speaker who will make the event unique and different from the previous year’s,” says Cogley. “We’ve had messages of hope, health, and the heart so this year it’s a hula hoop. The point of the hula hoop is to live fully and freely. Theresa uses the hoop and her ‘hoopisms’ to talk about those things that limit our happiness in life. The program should be funny and yet meaningful.”

Rose shared this about her program, Get Big. “I have come to realize that no matter who we are or what we want to accomplish, it all boils down to one simple concept to master:  to GET BIG.  Getting big doesn't have anything to do with the size of your body; it's all about energy.  As women, we give and give and give some more.  When we ignore ourselves long enough and live smaller than we would like, we end up walking through life like it's one long IRS tax audit instead of the juicy romp it is meant to be!” Rose says.

Come see Theresa Rose at the 2012 Women’s Health Focus and Baby Fair. This annual women’s gathering begins at 4:30 p.m. with nearly 40 educational exhibits, vendors in the retail therapy area, a delicious buffet meal, and lots of door prizes before the speaker begins at 7 p.m.

This year’s menu includes: Chicken primavera, sweet and sour tempura pork over rice, chicken breast with mango and pineapple salsa, steakhouse salad, fresh vegetable salad, fresh fruit salad, cheese tray, bread basket, and a wonderful dessert table. Mayflower Community catering staff and chef Scott Gruhn will provide the meal.

Our retail therapy vendors include Betty Broders –Independent Watkins Distributor, Cory Hall Photography, Mary Kay Cosmetics - Vicki DeAngelo, Spaulding Inn Bed and Breakfast, Val’s Ventures, The Glass Gift Box, and more. Area businesses may still sign up. Plus we have several new exhibitors as well as previous ones with new information.

All participants are encouraged to bring a canned food item and plastic bags to support the local food bank through MICA. In the fall, the food banks experience an increase in needs for the community and need extra support.

As always, we enter all participants in a drawing for prices, such as Pandora jewelry, fitness center memberships, massages, and more. All participants will receive a take home item that will help them step into the “live freely and fully” mode. 

Tickets are $18 per person if purchased by Sept. 24. After that date, tickets are $25. For tickets, go to the GRMC website, hoopla/home.html or go to and click on the Women’s Health Focus button. Tickets are also available at The Glass Gift Box, Gosselink’s Gifts and Interiors, and Postels Community Health Park. Free tickets are available for women with financial need. To find out if you are eligible, please contact Amanda Bergmann, at 641-236-2567.

Childcare is also available at $3 per child that includes a meal (for 2 year olds and older) and fun activities for kids. For children under 2, please provide food appropriate for them.

This event is made possible through the financial support of the GRMC Auxiliary, Grinnell College, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, Mayflower Community, KGRN, Grinnell Eye Care, Grinnell Family Care, Iowa Radiology, Maytag Laundry, The Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, and Family Medicine.

Boyer Joins Grinnell Regional Family Practice

Grinnell Regional Family Practice and Grinnell Regional Medical Center welcome Grinnell-native Jacob D. Boyer, PA-C, to the family-care clinic. Boyer will begin seeing patients in late August at the primary care clinic located on the third floor of the Ahrens Medical Arts Building in Grinnell. Boyer joins healthcare providers Roy Doorenbos, MD; Michelle Rebelsky, MD; and Kristin Phelps, PA-C, in the Grinnell Regional Family Practice. He will fill the position vacated by Allison Rippe, PA-C, who moved from Grinnell.

Boyer earned a Masters of Physicians Assistant from the University of Iowa. He completed his undergraduate degree at Grinnell College. Originally from Grinnell, Boyer graduated from Grinnell Community High School in 1994. He worked nearly 10 years at Manatt’s in Brooklyn before earning his masters degree. Boyer also worked at St. Francis Manor, Grinnell, and Greenwood Manor, Iowa City.

“I’ve always been interested in healthcare and wasn’t sure about the field,” says Boyer. “After speaking with my father-in-law who is a physician in northeast Iowa as well as friends, I decided to back to school to earn a physicians assistant degree. This fit into our lifestyle, and after the 25-month program, I’m ready to serve the community.”

The clinical rotations of the physician assistant program allowed Boyer to work in a various clinical settings including family medicine, internal medicine, surgery, psychiatry, migrant health, pediatrics, obstetrics, emergency medicine, orthopedics, and intensive care. He had a stronger interest in the family care rotation.

“I was able to gain valuable knowledge in each of these different clinical settings. I want to bring together experiences and practice styles from these different work environments into my practice here in Grinnell,” Boyer says.

“We’ve very pleased to welcome Jake into our practice,” says Roy Doorenbos, MD, physician at the practice. “His knowledge of the community, his clinical training, and his personality provide an excellent mix for a successful practice. He will be a great asset to our community.”

Boyer is the son of Dan Boyer and Jean Pendelton, Grinnell, and Cindy Boyer, Chariton. He’s looking forward to being in Grinnell.

“My wife, Kate, and I attended Grinnell College and we believe this is the perfect size community for us to raise our children. We’re excited to be moving back,” he says.

He is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, contact the clinic at 641-236-2500.