Seventy-four percent of community hospitals participating in the third annual Anthelio/Community 100 community hospital survey said they planned to seek out partners while retaining ownership, while the number of hospitals planning to join accountable care organizations also fell.

“The results of this survey indicate that the continuing financial pressures on community hospitals are forcing a majority to develop plans to integrate with other organizations,” said Asif Ahmad, CEO of Dallas-based technology and services vendor Anthelio. “However, the survey shows that 74 percent of responding community hospitals are only willing to pursue partnerships with other hospitals that do not relinquish ownership, and only 9 percent will consider consolidation with a hospital system compared to 41 percent last year.”

The survey was conducted between August and September 2013 based on the results of an email questionnaire sent to community-based hospitals and health systems with up to 500 acute beds. Responses were received from 135 community hospital executives representing 123 community-based hospitals. The survey was released to the community hospital executives who attended the 2013 Community Hospital 100 Conference in Greensboro, Ga.

Other survey highlights include:

・EMR implementations: Community hospitals have made considerable progress towards EMR implementation: Forty percent of responding hospitals have completed and are operating EMRs. Almost all other responding community hospitals have acquired and partially implemented an EMR.

・ICD-10 transitions: Seventy-one percent of responding hospitals are in the process of implementing transitions to ICD-10, while 27 percent are planning to transition but have not yet started. While 39 percent of respondents have spent or anticipate spending less than $100,000 on their ICD-10 transition, 40 percent will spend $100,000-$499,000, 13 percent will spend $500,000-$999,000 and 9 percent will spend more than $1 million.

・Quality initiatives: Reducing readmissions was quoted as a top priority by 19 percent of responding community hospitals. The other leading quality improvement initiatives cited by respondents were improving patient safety (10 percent), improving patient satisfaction (including HCAHPS) (10 percent), improving performance on core measures (8 percent) and reducing hospital-acquired infections (6 percent).

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