A Tragedy Becomes A Crucible Moment For Texas Hospital
The death of a 13-year-old boy who suffered a stroke and sought treatment from Hill Country Memorial was a turning point for the hospital, which had been struggling with budget and poor customer and employee satisfaction. But other rural hospitals have not fared as well.
Kaiser Health News:
Back From The Brink, A Rural Texas Hospital Shines
Brad and Sheryl Kott didn’t think much of it seven years ago when their 13-year-old son, Quinn, complained his arm felt tingly. But later that day, Mr. Kott found Quinn — a friendly, energetic athlete — on the bathroom floor. His speech was garbled. ... After the family arrived at Hill Country Memorial, the local hospital in Fredericksburg, the Kotts say Quinn’s medical care went terribly wrong. ... It wasn’t until the next morning that a pediatrician finally examined Quinn. He was rushed to a hospital in San Antonio, about 70 miles south, and died soon after. He had suffered a massive stroke. For Dr. Michael Williams, then Hill Country Memorial’s chief executive officer, Quinn Kott’s death in 2009 was a crucible moment. (Varney, 3/11)
Kaiser Health News:
Hospital Closures Rattle Small Towns
Across the country, more than 50 rural hospitals have closed over the last six years, and another 283 are in fragile financial condition, according to the National Rural Health Association. With rural populations long in decline in the United States, small-town hospitals have lost customers and struggled to keep pace with the striking advancements in medical technology. But the pace of closures has escalated in recent years, hastened by a series of budget control measures passed by Congress that reduced Medicare payments and by the Affordable Care Act, which is slowly restructuring the health care industry. The law rewards scale and connectivity -- difficult goals for rural hospitals that are, by their geographic nature, low-volume and remote. (Varney, 3/10)