With losses mounting, SCBH looking for solutions

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Frustrated with the lack of recruitment of new doctors for Benson and facing mounting financial losses, the Swift County-Benson Hospital’s governing board directed CEO Kurt Waldbillig to present it with options for changing how it operates.
Those changes could involve the hospital starting its own clinic and hiring its own doctors. That option is attractive to some SCBH governing board members as they look to the success of hospitals and clinics around the area that are not part of the Affiliated Community Medical Centers group.
Benson saw ACMC end its relationship with new doctor Matt Dammeyer in April 2014 with Dr. Roger Bauer retiring that year as well. That has left Dr. Rick Horecka as the only staff physician at ACMC’s clinic in Benson. Benson High School graduate and now Dr. Josie (Thole) Syverson has committed to coming to Benson to join the clinic, but she will not complete her residency until August 2016.
As the hospital has waited for ACMC to bring more doctors to the community, it has seen a steady drain on its finances. It has seen people leaving the community for medical care in other towns, services that could be provided to people locally transferred to ACMC’s facilities in Willmar, and a drop in the number of people using its ancillary services, such as x-ray and lab.
 “Just like every other month this year we had a net operating loss bringing our year-to-date loss to $611,000,” SCBH’s Chief Financial Officer Jane Thielke told the SCBH governing board at a special meeting June 8. “So it’s not a pretty picture, and quite honestly, May doesn’t look a whole lot better.”


Photo:  At the two-hour June 8 meeting, the governing board directed CEO Waldbillig to put together recommendations for actions it could take to turn around the steep financial declines.

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