Los Angeles Times Examines Ojai Hospital Turnaround
The Los Angeles Times yesterday examined Ojai Valley Community Hospital, a 110-bed rural hospital that "stands today as the rare success story of a rural hospital that actually makes money." Ojai Hospital had been owned by four hospital chains since 1987, but a group of local leaders bought the hospital as a community foundation in October 2000 when it was facing closure. Since then, the Ojai Valley Community Hospital Foundation has restructured hospital operations and invested an additional $550,000 in the hospital. Ojai Hospital replaced its money-losing maternity ward with profitable outpatient surgery services, extended its reach by buying a health clinic in Oak View last year and began preparing its own meals rather than outsourcing the service. For the fiscal year that ended September 2002, Ojai reported a profit of $115,000 on revenue of $15.9 million, not including $350,000 in gifts and donations. "Most rural hospitals are losing about 4% annually. So, if we're making a [slight] profit, that makes us stable," Alan Rains, chair of the hospital board of directors, said. Ojai Hospital proves that "a small hospital can remain viable by limiting services, fostering goodwill and finding an unfilled niche," Monty Clark, regional vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California, said. According to the Times, Ojai could serve as an example for Santa Paula's 49-bed hospital, which has lost around $13 million on operations in the last five years and faces closure. "I'm aware they've had considerable success [at Ojai Hospital]," Phil Romney, chair at the Santa Paula hospital, said, adding that the hospital is trying some of the same operational techniques employed at Ojai Hospital (Kelley, Los Angeles Times, 3/3).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.