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OCH APPEAL DISMISSED: FEDERAL DEFINITION CASE PROMPTS INDUSTRY GUIDANCE

September 14th, 2017

Springfield, MO – Ozarks Community Hospital (OCH) has filed a motion dismissing a request for an Administrative Law Judge Hearing with the Civil Remedies Division of the Department of Health and Human Services Departmental Appeals Board following a recent memorandum issued by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS has amended the State Operations Manual to address the issues Ozarks Community Hospital encountered during a survey process and appeal related to the federal definition of a hospital set in a provision of the Social Security Act.

Hospital surveyors are now required to consider whether the hospital is primarily engaged in providing inpatient services and there is a minimum standard and specific guidance on factors to consider.

According to OCH Health System Chief Executive Officer Paul Taylor, “The guidance in the amended Manual which tells surveyors how to audit hospital operations is exactly what we were asking CMS to do. Give us a rule and we will satisfy it. Before this change, it was like being ticketed for speeding even though there was no established speed limit. CMS showed up and said our inpatient census was not high enough compared to the volume of outpatient care we were doing. We increased our inpatient volume and CMS accepted our Plan of Correction which stated we would maintain that increased inpatient census. A few months later, for reasons known only to CMS, they showed up again and decided what we were doing—which they had approved—was not enough. In other words, they changed the speed limit. We asked CMS to tell us how much was enough and CMS said they could not.”

Under the new guidance, a hospital with no inpatients on the day the survey commences, will not be surveyed and the CMS regional office will conduct an investigation to determine whether the hospital has maintained an average daily census (ADC) of 2 for the prior 12 month period. If not, the hospital will be presumed to have failed to meet the standard. If the hospital had more than an ADC of 2, the hospital will be surveyed and the new guidance provides a number of factors to be considered.

Taylor added, “There is no mention in this new guidance of the volume of primary care being done by the hospital—which was the critical factor in the final decision on OCH by CMS. CMS said OCH looked more like a primary care clinic organization than a hospital. We always believed that we were doing a good thing by filling a need for primary care in the patient population we served, which was mostly people covered by governmental programs or uninsured. Had this guidance been in place in 2015, we would never have had a problem with CMS.”

Ozarks Community Hospital suspended the Springfield hospital license last summer after CMS published notice the hospital did not meet the federal definition of a hospital. Taylor filed an appeal last fall and has been focusing his efforts on communication and education in order to advocate for a change in CMS regulations. In a reply brief filed in the appeal, Taylor wrote, “CMS’s refusal to establish a fixed standard or quantitative interpretation of ‘how much’ less than ‘more than’ is sufficient to meet the definition results in arbitrary and capricious enforcement of the definition—as it has in this case.  Since the hospital industry has evolved (primarily through CMS mandates) to provide more outpatient than inpatient services as a whole and as individual facilities, CMS must promulgate a standard so that the hospital industry has some inkling of how far below more (i.e. 51%) the hospital can fall before it has fallen too far. CMS has refused to provide or divulge that standard.”

“Since there was very little chance OCH would reopen the facility as a general acute care hospital, we appealed the decision so that what happened to OCH’s Springfield hospital would not happen to another hospital. With this new guidance from CMS, the hospital industry has an ascertainable standard to assert as a shield against the subjective whim of individual decision-makers who, even when well-intentioned, can get things wrong where there is no standard. We now know the speed limit and it will be our own fault if we get caught speeding. For that reason, we have dismissed our appeal,” Taylor said.

The OCH Health System is a safety-net organization encompassing a hospital and a multitude of clinics located throughout the Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas and Northeast Oklahoma area. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.

CMS Memo Primarily Engaged is available by clicking on the attached link.

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Kory Miskin, DPM now seeing patients at OCH Southwest City Community Clinic!

April 4th, 2017

Southwest City, MO - Dr. Kory Miskin is bringing foot care to McDonald County.  As of April 2017  he will be visiting the OCH Southwest City Community Clinic every other Wednesday.

Dr. Miskin also sees podiatric patients at the OCH of Gravette Specialty Clinic.

He can perform clinic procedures including the removal of ingrown toenails, warts and pre-cancerous lesions; minor hammertoe procedures; and removal of foreign bodies. He also offers surgical procedures including bunion, hammertoe and flatfoot reconstruction; neurectomies; plantar fasciotomy; heel spurs; fracture repair; ankle scopes and fusions; equinus procedures; forefoot and hindfoot fusions; amputations; tarsal tunnel releases; and soft tissue mass excisions.

For a complete list of podiatric services and procedures available, click the following link: http://www.ochonline.com/patients/specialties/podiatry/.

Dr. Miskin joined OCH in November 2016. He received his education from Brigham Young University – Provo and from Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine. He is currently is a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association and American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

To contact Dr. Miskin’s office, call 479-344-6870.

OCH and Ozarks New Hope open clinic in Webb City

March 6th, 2017

OzarksNewHope2017

 

 

OCH and Ozarks New Hope open clinic in Webb City

Webb City, MO – OCH and Ozarks New Hope are proud to announce the opening of the Webb City Community Health Clinic this March.

The clinic (112 N. Webb Street) is open Monday through Thursday 7:30 am to 5:00 pm, and on Fridays from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm. It includes three staff members and providers Nishua Bendt, DO and Angela Husong, FNP who will provide family practice care to patients of all ages.

“We wish to become an integral part of the Webb City community providing medical care for everyone, including those who are most challenged to afford the costs,” says Steve Bearden, executive director of Ozarks New Hope. “We operate on a sliding scale fee basis, and do not turn clients away based upon their ability to pay.”

In addition to self-pay patients, the clinic can accept Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare insurances.

Dr. Bendt received her medical degree from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her family practice residency at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. Dr. Bendt is a FMCSA Certified Medical Examiner and offers DOT physicals. Dr. Bendt is available on Tuesdays.

Angela Husong, FNP received her Masters of Science in Nursing from Graceland University in Lanomi, Iowa. She has more than 12 years of nursing experience. She is available Monday through Friday at the clinic.

“The Webb City community already has a heart for a similar mission and population,” says Steve. “That’s why in addition to opening this clinic, we are working on connecting with current entities to partner in providing combined resources and opportunities for those in need,” says Steve.

Ozarks New Hope, est. 2015, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization serving healthcare facilities, their work forces and patients in and around the Ozark region. ONH exists to help the healthcare industry better serve their patients and communities by promoting public health, supporting caregivers, and establishing and maintaining health services. To contact the clinic, call 417-673-0366 or fax 417-673-0336.

The OCH Health System is a tri-state safety-net healthcare provider headquartered in Gravette, Ark. serving both urban and rural communities throughout the Ozarks. Our hospital is located in Gravette and includes a multitude clinics located throughout Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas and Oklahoma. ###

Welcome Hoover, Sandford to OCH Health System

October 31st, 2016

Please join OCH in welcoming two new providers to the health system: Melinda Hoover, FNP-BC and Adrienne Sanford MS, OTR/L.

Family Nurse Practitioner, Melinda Hoover began with the OCH Jasper County Clinic – Carthage Campus this October. She is seeing patients Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Melinda comes to OCH with more than 19 years of nursing experience, having worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She received her education from Missouri Southern State University and the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Melinda is a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Four-State Advanced Practice Nurses organization. To contact the OCH Jasper County Clinic – Carthage Campus, or schedule an appointment, call the office at 417-237-0604 or fax 417-237-0613.

Adrienne Sanford MS, OTR/L, also started at OCH this October. She is seeing pediatric patients Monday through Thursday at the OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa.

Adrienne has worked in occupational therapy since 2008. She has a passion for educating patients and their caregivers, while helping them achieve autonomy. In addition to her eight years of professional experience, Adrienne has worked with organizations that focus on children with special needs. She received her undergraduate degree from Drury University and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy degree from Washington University in St. Louis – School of Medicine.

To contact Adrienne Sanford, OTR/L, contact the OCH Christian County Clinic at 417-724-3004.

OCH of Gravette provides athletic trainer for Gravette Schools

September 12th, 2016

Gravette, AR – Ozarks Community Hospital (OCH) of Gravette welcomes Leo F. Krajewski ATC, CSCS, to the therapy services department.

Leo Krajewski, ATC, CSCS is a Certified Athletic Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has over 26 years of experience as a Certified Athletic Trainer and more than 13 years as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, including for Batesville High School and Harrison High School in Arkansas.  His office is based off campus at Gravette Public Schools, where he will serve as the full-time athletic trainer.

“I am very excited to be part of OCH as they begin this new era of sports medicine and Gravette School system coverage,” says Mr. Krajewski.  “It is a real honor to become part of the rich history and tradition of Gravette Athletics; I look forward to helping them any way I can.”

Krajewski received his Master of Science in Exercise Science and Exercise Physiology from Illinois State University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training from Lock Haven University.  He has experience in the United States Army as well as experience providing athletic training at Presentation College, Lyon College, North Arkansas College, Minot State University and Trinity Health.

To contact Leo Krajewski, ATC, CSCS, call Gravette High School at 479-787-4180.

The OCH Health System is a safety-net organization encompassing a hospital and 17 clinics located throughout the Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas area. The OCH health system serves patients in Springfield, Nixa, Carthage, Marshfield, Noel, Bolivar, Rogersville, Sparta, Mt. Vernon and Gravette, Ark. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.

 

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April is national occupational therapy month

April 22nd, 2016

Gravette, Ark. – Ozarks Community Hospital of Gravette (OCH) is celebrating Occupational Therapy Month throughout the month of April!

Occupational therapy is a science-driven, evidence-based profession that provides practical support to help people recover and overcome barriers that prevent them from performing every day activities. This allows people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping maximize performance, function and participate in meaningful activities such as occupations.

“Being an occupational therapist means that I am not only able to see different diagnoses and different populations; but am able to provide a service that benefits these patients in the best way possible,” explained Darin Bell, occupational therapist.  “I chose this profession because it allows me treat all age groups, from pediatrics to geriatrics in both outpatient and inpatient settings.”

When working with an OCH occupational therapist, strategies and modifications are customized for each individual. The goal is to improve function and support everyday living activities while maximizing potential. Through this approach, occupational therapy helps individuals develop needed skills, adjust their environments and build health promoting habits and routines that will allow them to thrive.

The OCH of Gravette therapy department includes two certified occupational therapists, a certified occupational therapy assistant, two physical therapists, two additional physical therapy assistants and two certified speech pathologists. Together, the team offers individualized, high quality care including evaluations, exercise therapy, manual therapy and therapeutic modalities to both inpatients and outpatients.

To contact the OCH therapy department call 479-344-6740.

The OCH health system encompasses two hospitals and 17 clinics located throughout the Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas area with locations in the following communities: Springfield, Nixa, Carthage, Marshfield, Noel, Bolivar, Rogersville, Sparta, Mt. Vernon and Gravette, Ark. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.

 

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OCH Health System Expanding Services in Carthage

December 29th, 2015

Carthage, Mo. – OCH Health System is expanding patient services at the OCH Jasper County Clinic – Carthage Campus. Louis DelCampo, MD (Interventional Pain Management) Jackie Beene, MD (Hepatitis & Family Practice) and Jessica Kirk, FNP (Pediatrics & Family Practice) will be relocating their current Webb City practices to Carthage on January 4, 2016.

“We are excited to see this growth at our Carthage campus,” says Gail Gamble, Clinic Manager. “These providers have each worked at OCH for many years, and we look forward to the many ways that these additional service lines will benefit this community.”

Dr. DelCampo is a board certified anesthesiologist. He received his degree from the University of Bologna Medical School and completed his residency at St. Luke’s Hospital. The OCH Pain Management Clinic provides an integrated care approach that incorporates multiple treatment and healthcare professionals to address the numerous problems that accompany chronic pain.

Dr. Beene is a family practice physician with a focus on hepatitis treatment. He has experience in hospital and personal practice settings throughout southwest Missouri. He received his degree from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine and his accreditation as a pharmacist from the University of Arkansas Pharmacy School.

Jessica is an AANP certified Family Nurse Practitioner. She has been a nurse practitioner for nearly 10 years, after receiving her master of science in nursing degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a bachelor of science in nursing from Pittsburg State University. Jessica has experience in pediatrics and primary care.

These providers are relocating to Carthage from Webb City due to a growing patient population throughout Jasper County. To contact the OCH Jasper County Clinic – Carthage Campus or schedule an appointment, call (417) 237-0604.

The OCH health system encompasses two hospitals and 17 clinics located throughout southwest Missouri and northwest Arkansas. For more information about the OCH health system, visit www.OCHonline.com.

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New family practice physician joins OCH of Gravette Clinic

November 30th, 2015

Gravette, Ark. – Chris Billings, DO joins OCH of Gravette Clinic on December 1, offering expanded primary care access to Benton County residents and surrounding communities.

Dr. Billings will see patients in Gravette every Monday and Tuesday beginning December 1 and plans to expand his practice January 4, 2016 to every Monday through Thursday. With the addition of Dr. Billings, the OCH of Gravette Clinic increases the clinic’s ability for same-day and emergent appointments.

“We are really excited that Dr. Billings is joining the clinic!” says Jessica Bolin, clinic administrator. “The addition of Dr. Billings will help OCH of Gravette provide better family care access to area communities.”

Board certified in family practice, Dr. Billings has worked for the OCH health system for 15 years and is transitioning his practice from Southwest Missouri as he relocates to Northwest Arkansas.

Dr. Billings earned his DO from Oklahoma State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency at University of Kansas School of Medicine. He is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, American Medical Doctors Association and a Fellow of American Academy of Family Physicians.

To schedule an appointment with Chris Billings, DO, patients can call the OCH of Gravette Clinic at 479-787-5221.

The OCH health system encompasses two hospitals and 18 clinics located throughout Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas area with locations in the following communities: Springfield, Nixa, Webb City, Carthage, Marshfield, Noel, Bolivar, Rogersville, Sparta, Mt. Vernon and Gravette, Ark. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.

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Living Well Holistic Center changes face of geriatric care in Northwest Arkansas

November 18th, 2015

Gravette, Ark. – The Living Well Holistic Center, a Geriatric Intensive Outpatient Program at OCH of Gravette, is changing the face of geriatric care in Northwest Arkansas.

The day program, which serves senior adults 65 years of age and older, opened August 24, 2015 and has been at capacity since the beginning. In the first two months, the center has graduated 17 geriatric patients and has added another therapist to increase the capacity to 20.

Senior adults receive a free medical and psychosocial assessment which allows the multidisciplinary group of providers to better serve the individual needs of the patients. The care team is composed of a psychiatrist, psychologist, LCSW, LMSW, activities coordinator and full nursing staff. New team member, Katherine Shook, LMSW, shares, “I’m really excited about joining this innovative outpatient program that provides truly individualized treatment in a comprehensive and integrative fashion making it unique in Northwest Arkansas.”

The program offers free transportation within 45 miles to and from Skilled Nursing and assisted living facilities to allow flexibility for individuals. By providing this transportation, the center alleviates the workload of those working in the facilities as transportation is often limited.

Susie Davis, care coordinator, adds, “The Living Well Holistic Center’s Goal is to be an alternative to inpatient psychiatric treatment, and the results have been positively amazing. We have an incredibly caring staff that has worked miracles with the patients.”

For more information call the Living Well Holistic Center at OCH of Gravette at 479-344-6714.

The OCH health system encompasses two hospitals and 18 clinics located throughout Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas area with locations in the following communities: Springfield, Nixa, Webb City, Carthage, Marshfield, Noel, Bolivar, Rogersville, Sparta, Mt. Vernon and Gravette, Ark. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.
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OCH expands radiology equipment in Springfield hospital to better serve patients

September 22nd, 2015

Springfield, Mo. – The Ozarks Community Hospital health system announces comprehensive radiology equipment upgrades, now offering expanded services and radiology exams in North Springfield.

With the addition of new equipment, OCH now offers radiology services directly comparable to other local health systems. The upgraded equipment provides better safety for patients due to lower dose radiation and expedited exams.

In addition to the existing MRI, nuclear medicine, DEXA, fluoroscopy, x-ray and other general radiology services, OCH Springfield is now home to an upgraded Siemens 64-slice Computed Tomography (CT) scanner and an upgraded Siemens S2000 ultrasound machine.

The new CT equipment can perform additional tests, including:
• Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography: A heart imaging tests that helps determine if plaque buildup has narrowed arteries.
• Low Dose Lung Screening: This screening meets CMS guidelines for a lung cancer screening.
• Cardiac Calcium Scoring: This is a quick, painless, noninvasive procedure to accurately determine the degree and severity of hard plaque within the coronary arteries.

The new ultrasound equipment increases image quality for the patient and ease of use for the technologist.

“The addition of the new equipment systemwide, and specifically at the Springfield hospital, allows us to better serve our patients,” explains OCH of Springfield hospital administrator Todd Lutes. “Not only does this allow us to better understand patients’ health conditions, but it helps us achieve our mission to provide exceptional healthcare to all patients and improve access to care in underserved communities.”

As part of the technology upgrades, the OCH Christian County Clinic in Nixa now houses a new Siemens 16-slice CT scanner. This CT equipment allows patients to stay at the Nixa clinic for a same-day exam versus having to schedule an appointment at an alternate location. The expedited timeline will also allow patients to receive the results of their test in the same day. The Nixa facility continues to offer existing radiology services including ultrasound, DEXA, and x-ray.

The OCH of Gravette, Ark. hospital has also seen vast upgrades in equipment this summer providing the only all-digital radiology department in that region.

For more information or scheduling, call radiology at OCH of Springfield at 417-837-4040 or radiology at the OCH Christian County Clinic at 417-724-3174.

The OCH health system encompasses two hospitals and 18 clinics located throughout Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas area with locations in the following communities: Springfield, Nixa, Webb City, Carthage, Marshfield, Noel, Bolivar, Rogersville, Sparta, Mt. Vernon and Gravette, Ark. OCH can accept Medicaid, Medicare, UHC Military and other insurances. For more information, visit www.OCHonline.com.

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