Case Studies

The Journey from Red to Black: Contributing to the Bottom Line

Natividad Medical Center

Hospital Beds 172
Annual ED Visits 43500
ED Beds 25

Natividad Medical Center is a 172-bed acute-care medical center in Salinas, CA, owned and operated by Monterey County. The hospital had been a fixture in the community for more than 120 years but mismanagement had the hospital very close to closing in 2006. Looking to partner with a physician group that would not only improve emergency department (ED) operations but help improve overall hospital throughput and performance, administrators called on CEP America to begin staffing and manage the ED.

In turning around performance, the CEP America physician leaders focused on ways to improve efficiency and increase the revenue stream while maintaining costs, thereby contributing greatly to the hospital’s bottom line.
The first step was changing the culture to one of high performance and improving interdepartmental relations. The team set about implementing programs to improve operational efficiency. For instance, under the leadership of the ED Medical Director, the ED implemented CEP America’s Rapid Medical Evaluation (RME®) program, which allows the medical provider to evaluate the patient and begin treatment as quickly as possible.

Only weeks after RME was implemented, patient wait times went from just under one hour to less than 30 minutes, patient satisfaction increased, and the virtual capacity of the ED increased. As word of mouth spread, the ED volume increased by over 50%, while the left without being seen rate (LWBS) dropped from over 11% to less than 2%, which helped to improve the hospital’s payer mix. Patient satisfaction scores also jumped from the 12th percentile to the 90th percentile over a nine-month period.

Since then, the hospital has not only recovered but also prospered and the ED was at the forefront of this transformation process. Natividad Medical Center ended up going from a $25 million deficit to sustained profitability over seven-years – an unheard of achievement for a public, safety net hospital.

In 2014, CEP America continued to leave its mark at Natividad, with ED Medical Director, Craig Walls, MD, PhD, became the hospital’s Chief of Staff. In addition, under CEP America’s physician leadership, Natividad successfully earned the county’s sole Level 2 trauma center designation. With this new role, the hospital is strengthening its infrastructure, thereby gaining access to enhanced resources and serving its community like never before.