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February 12, 2014

Pioneer Hospital continues to grow

Gets Medicare Provider Number

ONEIDA —  Pioneer Community Hospital of Scott is one important step closer to earning Critical Access status.

    Pioneer Health Services acquired the hospital last year from Scott County government after its former operators declined to extend their lease and closed the facility in May 2012. It reopened under the new banner at the beginning of December.

    Following a favorable inspection, Pioneer Community Hospital recently received a federal CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) Certification Number (CCN).

    The CCN, or  Medicare Provider Number, allows the hospital to bill Medicare for services provided to Medicare patients, even retroactively to December 16.

    According to Pioneer CEO Tony Taylor, the next step is to apply at the state level (both with Tennessee and Kentucky) for Medicaid billing approval as well as contract with private insurances to become an in-network provider.

    The process is expected to take 30 to 60 days.

    While it remains to be seen if the hospital will be able to bill Medicaid or private insurances retroactively for services already rendered, implementing the billing structure and getting CAH status would clear the way for expanded services at the facility.

    Taylor explained that a Critical Access Hospital, eligible for higher reimbursements to cover costs, is typically defined as a rural facility with 25 beds which is at least 35 miles from the nearest medical center.

Pioneer currently offers 24-hour emergency care, radiology and laboratory services.

    “The ER averages around 35 patients per day,” Taylor said, adding that some 1,000 radiology procedures are performed each month. “Our in-house patient census is six. We could have more but we had been holding it down until we got our provider number.”

    Within the next six months, Taylor said, the hospital plans to add geriatric psychiatry and surgery (general, podiatry and endoscopy). Ears, Nose and Throat as well as Eye specialists are also being recruited.

    Pioneer has already partnered with Dr. Bruce Coffey, whose family practice is now known as Pioneer Family Medical of Oneida-Underpass Drive. He is currently seeing patients with his son, Dr. Alex Coffey, an internist.

    The younger Dr. Coffey is scheduled to open Pioneer Family Medical of Oneida-Alberta Street next month in the former Medco Building.

    Including the clinics, Pioneer employs 100. Taylor noted that the hospital is still hiring nurses, lab technicians, nurse practitioners and physical therapists.

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