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QHR Health and Idaho Hospital Association: Improve Critical Access Hospital Reimbursement

John Turner
Chief Operating Officer

QHR Health CEO Dr. Dwayne Gunter wrote in a recent blog, The QHR Health Way: The Seven Things Thriving Independent Hospitals Do,

“…every state except Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Rhode Island has at least one rural hospital at immediate risk of closure, and even before the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘In 21 states, 25 percent or more of rural hospitals were at immediate risk’ due to persistent financial losses and/or low or non-existent financial reserves.”

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) are a subset of rural hospitals designated by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). As the Rural Health Information Hub shared,

“The CAH designation is designed to reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to healthcare by keeping essential services in rural communities. To accomplish this goal, CAHs receive certain benefits, such as cost-based reimbursement for Medicare services.”

There were 1,353 CAHs located throughout the United States as of July 2021, including QHR Health clients Abbeville Area Medical Center in South Carolina, Bear Valley Community Hospital in California, Springfield Hospital in Vermont and Gritman Medical Center in Idaho.

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There are more than 1,300 critical access hospitals throughout the United States, including Abbeville Area Medical Center and Gritman Medical Center.

QHR Health and Idaho Hospital Association Improve Critical Access Hospital Reimbursement

 “As one who is passionate about rural healthcare and has previously attended a critical access boot camp with QHR Health and John Waltko, I can unequivocally say the course helps finance, reimbursement and rev cycle professionals to more easily do their jobs and better understand the complexities of cost-based reimbursement.“
– Tim Powers, Chief Financial Officer of the Idaho Hospital Association (IHA).

That’s why I am proud to write about our partnership with the Idaho Hospital Association (IHA) to bring the QHR Health Learning Institute to Boise.

Ordinarily, we offer this course in our offices in Brentwood, TN. Instead, on June 1-3, John Waltko, QHR Health’s Vice President, Regulatory & Financial Reporting, and Michael Donahue, Associate Vice President, Healthcare Finance and Reimbursement, delivered the training and information needed to help Idaho’s CAHs improve their Medicare reimbursements and financial operating results on the campus of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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QHR Health John Watko’s cost reporting boot camps are second-to-none in terms of content, value and popularity.

Recent testimonials include:

  • “It was a great approach to instructing on the cost report with having an actual cost report to reference. John [Waltko] and Michael [Donahue] had a wealth of experience and were very good presenters.” Brian Johnson, CPA, Controller, Weiser Memorial Hospital
  • “I liked the class interaction, and having people ask questions. It helps see what others are going through.” Danielle Lynas, Chief Financial Officer, Gritman Medical Center
  • “QHR Health did a great job of explaining everything and the examples were very helpful. The snacks were also delicious!” Von Senethavilay, Revenue Cycle Manager, Valor Health
  • “John [Waltko] does a great job of presenting this material and making it a learning experience to remember.” Erin Evans, Director of Billing at Macon County General Hospital
  • “By time the end of the week came, I felt very enlightened with information. All around great course! I learned more than I bargained for.” Jessica Latham, CFO at Deaconess Union County Hospital
  • “It is a topic with so many details and regulations – the speakers seemed very knowledgeable and were great at answering questions.” Sara Moreno, Controller at Boone County Hospital
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QHR Health and the Idaho Hospital Association partner to improve reimbursement for Idaho’s 27 critical access hospitals.


Improve Hospital Reimbursement: QHR Health Learning Institute

The CAH Medicare Cost Reporting Boot Camp is designed to provide CAH finance leaders with a fundamental understanding of the Medicare program’s cost-based reimbursement system, the Medicare cost reporting forms and the compilation requirements. After attending this program, participants understand cost reporting basics and cost reporting strategies to employ in their organization to ensure an accurate and complete Medicare cost report.

This training is oriented for financial executives, accounting personnel and others within the revenue cycle function who want to gain comprehensive knowledge on the cost report forms, data reported within the Medicare cost report and specific cost reporting requirements. The course also reviews reporting tactics and strategies that ensure CAHs receive the cost-based reimbursement they are legally entitled to receive and Medicare cost reporting instructions and regulations.

Each year, the QHR Health Learning Institute offers 80 courses and opportunities to deliver healthcare management education to hospital leaders, board members and professionals, including the Critical Access Hospital Reimbursement & Medicare Cost Reporting Boot Camp.

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