The Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners and the Albemarle Hospital Authority Board of Commissioners have created this website as an educational resource for those who share the vision of high quality, affordable healthcare and a vibrant healthy future for Pasquotank County and the surrounding communities. These two boards recently formed a joint committee to explore potential opportunities for Albemarle Hospital to partner with a larger health system.
This site includes status updates on the progress and recommendations of the committee, a list of frequently asked questions and answers, an estimated timeline associated with the process, copies of detailed committee meeting minutes and the ability for visitors to ask questions.
We invite you to learn more and to submit any questions or comments you may have. We look forward to hearing from you.
Why explore options now?
Health care reform is driving change for all health systems, including Albemarle Health.
- Regardless of the upcoming political outcomes, health care reform is changing the health care model as we know it. This new model requires hospitals to increase coordination of care between providers and facilities and to invest more in primary care and disease prevention.
- Over 80 percent of hospitals in North Carolina are now partnered with another health system in some way.
- There is a growing trend of chronic conditions in Pasquotank County, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
- Albemarle Health serves Congressional District 1, which is one of the three unhealthiest districts in the state of North Carolina. Of these three unhealthiest districts, District 1 has the largest population.
- Like most hospitals in the country, Albemarle Hospital is experiencing many economic pressures, such as declining patient admissions, smaller operating margins and difficulty meeting the community’s demand for primary care services.
- Over 70 percent of patients at Albemarle Health use Medicare, Medicaid or pay out of pocket. This results in reduced or no financial reimbursement, leaving the hospital to cover the cost.
- The demand for primary care services in Pasquotank County exceeds the supply of physicians available, causing some residents to leave the area for basic health services.
- Nationwide, inpatient business has dropped 11 percent while outpatient business is increasing. Albemarle Hospital is licensed for 182 inpatient beds, but is currently operating only 60 to 65 beds a day, one-third of its potential capacity.
- One-third of all U.S. hospitals have a negative operating margin, spending more money to provide patients with quality care than they collect in reimbursement for that care. Unfortunately Albemarle Hospital has been affected by these same challenges, and unaudited year end figures show the hospital finished the 2012 fiscal year (October 1, 2011 – September 30, 2012) with a negative one percent margin. The previous statement regarding the hospitals operating margin for the 2012 fiscal year incorrectly stated that the yearend figures referenced were “audited” figures. These were in fact “unaudited” figures. The audited financial report will be available once it has been accepted by the Albemarle Hospital Authority Board of Commissioners at their February 19 meeting.
- Albemarle Hospital’s financial performance this past fiscal year underscores the reasons County and the Hospital leadership have embarked on this process to find a partner. The hospital needs the resources and economies of scale of a larger health system in order to return to a position of reasonable profit, while developing and expanding services and recruiting needed primary care physicians.
Our community deserves continued access to a high quality, affordable and sustainable health care.
- Partnership with a larger health system can contribute to the long-term health of our community – potentially allowing for growth in services, improved coordination of care and outcomes, and a positive impact on economic development.
- Larger health systems are better able to attract high quality physicians, nurses, therapists and other medical professionals. Being part of a larger health system can increase the appeal for these providers to reside in Pasquotank County, which can also advance the overall economic health of the community.
- A larger system could also provide the resources to meet new quality and financial initiatives and requirements driven by health reform. For example, the estimated cost for implementing an electronic medical records system alone is $8 million. Collaborating with a larger health system could help the hospital access and acquire the latest technology in order to better serve the health needs of patients with chronic diseases and other conditions.
The Request for Proposal Process
As part of our responsibility to successfully navigate the changes brought on by health care reform and provide the best possible care to the people we serve, the County Commissioners and the Hospital Authority have embarked on a non-binding request for proposal (RFP) process to solicit options for affiliation or partnership with other health systems. A jointly appointed committee comprised of three members each from the Pasquotank County Board of Commissioners and Albemarle Hospital Authority Board of Commissioners has been created to lead this process and develop recommendations based on data review and input from all stakeholders. The Pasquotank County and Albemarle Hospital Authority representatives are committed to a thorough, thoughtful and transparent process, and will make recommendations based on improving the health of patients and the health of our community.
Pasquotank County Representatives
- Jeff Dixon
- Lloyd Griffin
- Cecil Perry
Albemarle Hospital Authority Representatives
- David Carter, M.D.
- Bettie Parker
- David Twiddy