Community Health Systems of Wisconsin, Inc. (CHS), a provider of primary care, behavioral healthcare and dental services with locations in Beloit, Janesville, Racine and Darlington has filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
This action was taken to assure the organization’s long-term viability and improve its ability to serve patients. CHS clinics will continue conducting normal business operations while they restructure their debt, costs and other obligations. CHS expects to be able to continue paying employee salaries and benefits, while meeting the needs of patients at each community health clinic.
According to Richard Perry, chief executive officer at CHS, the decision to financially restructure through a Chapter 11 filing was driven largely by the challenges of the recent economic downturn, especially in the larger communities served and the resultant increase in services to uninsured patients. In their current capacity, the centers serve as patient-centered medical homes for a patient population that is disproportionately low-income and predominately uninsured or publicly insured. Approximately 27 percent of CHS patients are uninsured.
The filing will provide CHS with the tools and time to strengthen its balance sheet, improve the efficiency of its clinic operations, revisit certain agreements and reposition the Company for long-term success. The management team at CHS is optimistic that the Company will emerge from the Chapter 11 process in a short period of time, able to meet its obligations in full to its creditors and become financially viable and stable.
“The Chapter 11 filing provides us with the opportunity to create a new strategic initiative for the organization that will better serve our employees, providers and the community of patients we care for. While difficult and stressful at this time, the reorganization will help us to focus our efforts on creating a more cost-effective and more efficient patient-centered system of care,” said Perry.
Key objectives of the reorganization process are to improve operational efficiency, increase number of patients treated at each location and improve rate of reimbursement from payers such as insurance companies and government.
The reorganization and continuing focus on enhancing operations, according to Perry, aids CHS in its efforts to better fulfill its Mission: To provide community oriented health and social services in a culturally competent and confidential manner while promoting comfort, healing, and illness prevention, regardless of income, by competent and certified health care providers.
Community support of their continuing operations is critical, and Perry encourages every member of the community to back CHS in their efforts to care for some of society’s most vulnerable. He believes CHS and the four clinics the Company operates are critical components of each community’s safety net and will remain so for many years.
The organization’s role as a community-based provider of medical, behavioral health and dental services will become increasingly critical as the impact of ObamaCare (officially, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or ACA) is felt. With more than five million persons enrolled nationwide, there will undoubtedly be more persons locally who will now have health insurance. They will seek out care from CHS providers not only for acute care, but also for the many preventive health services covered under the law.
Lynne Metz recently joined CHS as chief financial officer. Under her guidance, CHS has redoubled efforts to control costs and improve financial position by the end of the year. Cost cutting measures have been implemented that will enable the organization to regain solid financial footing and improve the continuity of care for patients.
“We are putting together a comprehensive plan that will offer financial stability to the organization. This will help us to attract additional highly qualified physicians and nurses. And hopefully, retain those who wish to stay beyond their three-year commitment to work at a Federally Qualified Health Center.”
Perry’s vision for CHS is to continue to reach out to the local community, offering high quality patient centered health services resulting in improved overall population health. “We are embarking on a new chapter here at CHS and in our clinics in Janesville, Racine, Darlington and Beloit- one that will make us more efficient, leaner and better able to serve our patients and communities. I am confident that we will be a stronger, healthier organization in a very short period of time,” added Perry.
The Community Health Center in Darlington is located at 435 Main St.