Future for Keokuk Area Hospital uncertain as 2013 approaches - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Future for Keokuk Area Hospital uncertain as 2013 approaches

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KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

It seems to be a never ending problem for Keokuk Area Hospital. For the past two years, the possibility of having to shut down has been looming.

And the problems continue as 2013 approaches.

It's been a year of losses and cuts to Keokuk Area Hospital, where approximately 76 percent of patients are on Medicaid, Medicare, or are uninsured.

Keokuk Area Hospital CEO Wally Winkler says the hospital's financial problems are nothing new and the core of it lies in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

Reimbursements for the programs have been less than 78 percent, which leaves the remaining balance to be picked up from commercial insurance.

Winkler says the hospital simply doesn't have enough business to make up for the shortfalls.

"We closed our psych unit this past year. We closed our inpatient/rehab unit the year before," Winkler said. "So, we have eliminated some pretty desirable community services."

However, even with the closure of those units, patients say they don't believe it's impacted patient care.

"I was in for a knee surgery and I got very good care on it," said hospital patient Myrna Smith.

Patient Gerald Percy adds, "They've always treated me well, the nurses. You couldn't ask for any better service."

But that service could change if the hospital ends up shutting its doors.

"Loss of hospital would probably mean loss of physicians and medical services and clinics," Winkler said.

In the meantime, Winkler says they're looking forward to providing quality services in the new year.

"We will do what we need to do in order to maintain primary care services and continue to do what we can at the hospital level," Winkler said.

The hospital did apply to be a Critical Access Hospital which means the U.S. Government would reimburse the hospital for 101 percent of its costs, but that application was denied.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services three months ago and has yet to hear anything back.

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