Arkansas hospital to become non-profit

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) – Three years ago the city of Pocahontas started the process to purchase their hospital.

"It's just not a good time to be a small rural hospital in the first place.  All the pieces were in place for this hospital to become successful, which it has," said John Tucker, administrator for Five Rivers Medical Center.

Now a new opportunity is leading the hospital administration to ask the city for a small change to the structure of the hospital.  Administrator John tucker said the Arkansas Medicaid Program and the Arkansas Hospital Association have worked together to send more reimbursement money to hospitals.  As a city run facility the Five Rivers Medical Center is not eligible.

"We're doing what I think a few other small hospitals in Arkansas are doing right now and that is creating a non-profit corporation to operate the hospital to become eligible for those funds," said Tucker.

Tucker said creating the non-profit will also have other benefits.

"We operate a little more independently.  It's easier for us to communicate with payers and lenders and governmental agencies," said Tucker.

This change will provide additional cash they wouldn't normally get.

"It's going to improve our reimbursement by about $350,000 a year.  We thought that was enough to make it feasible for us to change our structure," said Tucker.

Last week Tucker said he presented documents for Five Rivers Medical Center Incorporated, the non-profit they've created for this sole purpose, to the city council.  They will go back to the council next month with an ordinance to make the change.  If accepted, the city will still own the hospital and have a say in what happens.

"No one will see any changes in how we operate.  It's really just a corporate reorganization the legal structure of the hospital there won't be any other changes visible," said Tucker.

If this passes through the Pocahontas City Council the action will take place on January first of next year.

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