The target date for Green Valley Hospital to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy is coming soon, with current projections on late April, CEO John Matuska said last week.
Hospital leadership is still involved with negotiating contracts with two major service vendors and hopes to reach agreement soon, he said.
Lateral GVC, LLC, which is in line to assume hospital ownership when the regulatory process is complete, is committed to moving the facility forward with the right staff, supplies and equipment, and is evaluating ways to reduce costs, Matuska told about 35 attendees at a community forum April 2 at the West Center.
Patrick Feeney is managing director of California-based Lateral Investment Management, of which Lateral GVC, LLC, is an offshoot. He's spent several weeks here evaluating hospital practices.
With the right footing, “the hospital is going to be better than ever,” operating as a business, delivering quality care and offering more services for people in the five ZIP codes it serves, he said.
“We're working tirelessly to right the ship … establishing and executing a plan to provide a community resource and that requires a lot of work.”
“We'll do everything we can to support it, and it's imperative that the community does too,” he said. If people want to see (it) succeed, they need to spread the word about the hospital and tell ambulances to take them there.”
Feeney said several groups have expressed interest in running the hospital when Matuska leaves. Matuska, hired in October 2016 as the third CEO, has agreed to see the Chapter 11 through completion.
While the hospital's financial situation has come far, there's work to be done, Matuska said.
The biggest issue is slowing the outmigration of patients who seek treatment in Green Valley's emergency room, then transfer to Tucson hospitals for follow-up care. Matuska said in an earlier interview that he wasn't at liberty to share the particulars.
A recent pulmonary patient in Green Valley was referred to St. Mary's in Tucson by her primary care doctor, but told him she preferred to go to Green Valley and did, he said. Medicare patients, who are the majority of Green Valley's clientele, can decide where they want to go and direct an ambulance to take them there. Patients can also get medical testing done at Green Valley Hospital with a valid order, he said.
“There should be no restrictions on where you can go if you're a Medicare patient,” however, patients with Medicare Managed Care should check, as rules may differ, Matuska said.
Space in medical offices on the hospital campus continue to fill.
The most recently added services include radiology outpatient and PET (Positron emission tomography) scans, nuclear medicine imaging to observe metabolic processes to aid in disease diagnosis.
Campus physicians now include Arizona Community Physicians (orthopedic and general surgery), Arizona Kidney Disease & Hypertension Center, Pima Heart Institute, Pima Neurology, Pima Pain Management, gastroenterologist Rizwan Safdar, Tucson Orthopedic Institute, Valley Ear, Nose & Throat, Urological Associates of Southern Arizona, and United Community Health Care.
The hospital's recently approved swing bed program is proving popular, and has housed up to 10 patients at a time, Matuska said. They include those who've been discharged from Green Valley and other hospitals for whom rehab care has been prescribed. Of the hospital's 49 beds, slightly more than half are filled by regular patients in high season.
A campus directory has been published by Green Valley Council volunteers to help patients, their families and other visitors find what they need, and can be accessed at www.gvcouncil.org (go to “COMMITTEES” link then to Health & Human Services).
When Matuska was hired, the hospital was basically insolvent. Most organizations looking to Chapter 11 aren't at that point yet, he said.
“We've recognized what we're capable of and what we're not. It's been a long journey (and) we're not there yet but getting there little by little. You don't turn around a hospital in this amount of trouble quickly.”
A sure sign is that many of the physicians and other staff are feeling more comfortable that the hospital is stabilizing from a business standpoint, he said.
It's probable that down the road the Green Valley Hospital will be part of a bigger medical group.
“It's very typical for a small hospital to thrive (as part of a larger organization).”
Several forum attendees said that they're pulling for the hospital to flourish. One's been a patron four times and has been happy with the staff, treatment and food on every visit, she said. Another, Bobby Larson, said having a hospital nearby his hometown in Illinois helped the area prosper.
“I want to see Green Valley thrive and support its hospital,” said Larson, now of Tucson and the president/owner of the company that oversees The Villas at Green Valley assisted living and memory care facility.
Kitty Bottemiller | 547-9732