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March 23, 2023 - Community Engagement Virtual Meeting

Community Engagement Webinar - March 23, 2023

  1. Current Census at KAWEAH HEALTH:
    1. Census:
      At 7:00 this morning, our acute medical center had an adult occupancy rate of 89.2%, including the seven admitted patients who were holding in the ED; 16 of 41 ICU beds, 14 of 54 ICCU beds and 13 of 237 medical surgical beds were open for admission.
    2. Update on Flu Season:
      Monday officially ended the flu surveillance period but we’ll continue to keep an eye on it. For the week ended March 18th, we saw 22 flu cases and one RSV case; only two of the flu cases required inpatient admission. Since November 1, 2022, we confirmed 4,041 flu cases and 958 RSV cases; 244 flu cases and 116 RSV cases required inpatient admission. At 7:00 this morning we also had 23 adult and one pediatric COVID-positive patients in-house with one adult patient in the ICU but not on a ventilator.
  1. When will family members be able to stop wearing masks in your facilities?
    Effective April 3rd, family members and other visitors will no longer be required to wear a mask unless they are visiting a patient in isolation; check in and badging will still be required; masks will be available for the public if wanted; and no change to visiting hours.
  1. Does Kaweah have any influence over the doctor’s offices in this community? The referral and subsequent appointment is always several weeks (or months) out. Is it due to communication and follow-up issues between the clinics and physician’s offices or is it due to the doctor’s having limited availability to take on new patients?
    With respect to private physician practices, we have no direct influence over timing or availability of referrals or appointments but we do exercise indirect influence by meeting often with physicians and their office staff and sharing community and patient feedback with them. We do directly influence the availability of physician services through our active recruitment efforts. Kaweah Health is in the process of launching a patient navigation system to help patients connect more easily within our medical community.
  2. February Financials Review?
    With only 28 days in the month, February has never been one of our better months from a financial standpoint. Kaweah Health generates approximately $2.5 million of operating revenue each calendar day. As such, February’s operating revenue was five to seven and a half million dollars less than a 30-day or 31-day month. And yet, many of our fixed expenses are the same each month no matter how many days are in that month. For February 2023, we experienced a total net operating loss of $3.5 million; better than the $5.7 million operating loss we experienced in February 2022 but still $846,000 more than the $2.7 million operating loss we had budgeted for February 2023. Our year-to-date cumulative operating loss now stands at $43.0 million for the eight months ended February 28, 2023. To date, we have spent $39.1 million in contract labor for this fiscal year, $20 million more than what we had spent last year at this time and what we had budgeted for the first eight months of this fiscal year.
  3. Do you regret your transparency regarding Kaweah Health’s financial crisis?
    No. I remain fully committed to transparency and honesty and have no intention of being anything else. I do acknowledge that my level of transparency is rare among healthcare leaders today and that it has understandably led to many false rumors that Kaweah Health is closing, filing bankruptcy, being acquired by another hospital or health system or worse. However, my outspoken advocacy and candidness has got the attention of lawmakers and politicians and I believe it will lead to help for our California hospitals.

  4. Why is Kaweah spending money on advertising when they are losing money?
    Our “Road to Financial Recovery” has always been based on a combination of revenue growth and cost reduction. It is always preferable to grow your way back to prosperity than to cut your way there. Advertising is an important element of revenue growth as many of our community members, particularly those new to our community, are not fully aware of the depth and breadth of the services we offer.

  5. Can you give an update on the Visalia Medical Clinic and how this dissolution of partnership will affect community patients.
    We continue to work closely with Visalia Medical Clinic and Adventist Health to complete Adventist Health’s due diligence efforts and to assist VMC in the transition from Kaweah Health’s medical foundation to Adventist Health’s medical foundation. Remember that VMC will continue to be an independent, physician-owned medical group but will now be fully managed and operated by Adventist Health instead of Kaweah Health.

    How it will affect community members who have a physician relationship with VMC is still unknown. Our employees and their covered family members will still be able to see VMC physicians for their healthcare needs but they will pay a higher out-of-pocket expense if they are referred to and receive services at an Adventist Health facility or service (e.g., hospital, imaging, lab, ambulatory surgery, etc.). It is likely that VMC physicians will be encouraged by Adventist Health to utilize their hospitals and ancillary service sites in Hanford and Tulare but we are told that VMC physicians will still maintain their hospital privileges at Kaweah Health.