Hospital system working toward ‘long-term partnership’ after management agreement

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 5:15 PM CDT
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MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (KAIT) - A north Arkansas hospital hopes to help another hospital system keep its doors open.

A few weeks back, Baxter Health signed a management agreement with the Fulton County Hospital System.

Fulton County Judge Kenneth Crow said the agreement was necessary, as it was only a matter of time until the county hospital would be forced to close its doors.

American Rescue Plan Funds enabled Baxter Health the opportunity to assist Fulton County.

“We are pooling a lot of information trying to really gather all the data necessary to make an informed decision at the end of the management agreement,” said Interim Fulton County Hospital Administrator Anthony Reed.

Since signing the agreement, some problems began to surface.

“All hospitals have to have a list of services and costs for those services for patients to see. Unfortunately, Fulton County was not in compliance with that,” Reed explained.

Which led to a nearly $70,000 fine to the hospital system.

“As soon as we got in with the management agreement, we really took charge of that to appeal that decision. Get in front of an administrative law judge and work with CMS to resolve that issue,” Reed explained.

The management agreement will last around six months, but Baxter said it would like to see a more long-term agreement soon.

“For right now, keeping Fulton County as a critical access hospital is the goal. I believe the ultimate goal is to form a long-term partnership between Baxter Health and Fulton County Hospital.”