Heywood Healthcare cites progress made since bankruptcy filing

Rozanna Penny, president and CEO of Heywood Healthcare, spoke of recent medical staff hirings and consolidations that have led to a drop in expenses and an increase in revenue at a presentation held on Friday, April 5.

Rozanna Penny, president and CEO of Heywood Healthcare, spoke of recent medical staff hirings and consolidations that have led to a drop in expenses and an increase in revenue at a presentation held on Friday, April 5. PHOTO BY ROB SADLER

By MAX BOWEN

Athol Daily News Editor

Published: 04-08-2024 5:00 PM

Modified: 04-11-2024 3:34 PM


ATHOL — After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last October, Heywood Healthcare has announced it has made progress in restoring and improving services.

The health care company has pointed to a costly electronic medical record transition, aging infrastructure and ongoing construction as the reasons for filing for bankruptcy protection, along with shortages in the workforce and supply chain challenges, which have affected hospitals nationwide.

At a forum held on Friday, April 5, Heywood Healthcare CEO Rozanna Penney addressed the work that has been done since the filing, according to a recording published to the Gardner News Magazine website. This has included renegotiating contracts to yield an annualized savings of $2 million and a reduction in the Heywood workforce, which resulted in $2.3 million in “annualized reduction in expenses.” Penney noted that this was a difficult decision to make.

Penney said there had been no reduction in medical staff, and in fact some new hires have been made. The new hires include a primary care physician who will start at end of summer at Winchendon Health Center, two family medical physicians who will provide obstetrics services in September, and several advance practice providers at various officers.

“All of this is affords us the ability to not just float but enhance services that we currently have,” she said.

Penney also cited a negotiation with commercial payers, which resulted in increased reimbursement and an improved revenue cycle, which has translated into $5 to $6 million in generated cash each month.

“As a result, we’re looking at our net expenses went down by 5% and our net revenue increased by 7%,” she said.

Heywood Healthcare is comprised of Heywood Hospital, Athol Hospital and Heywood Medical Group.

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Other changes which Penney spoke of at the April 5 meeting include the mental health unit at Heywood Hospital, which reopened in January following a two-year closure, initially with six beds, later expanding to nine, with plans to increase to 12 by the end of May.

Heywood Healthcare also has re-initiated its Doula Program to support maternal care and created a partnership with Woods Ambulance. Penney said that already, working with Woods Ambulance has helped over 100 patients to get to the hospital for non-emergency appointments.

“We want to be sure that people can get to their preventative appointments,” Penney said. “None of this would be possible if we were not a community hospital who partnered with our local partners, our local businesses, our local legislators.”

Last June, a member of the hospital was the victim of a stabbing, leading to increased security measures in the emergency room. Penney noted enhancements in security over the last six months, including metal detectors, wand screening, staff training in management of aggressive behaviors and collaboration with local law enforcement agencies.

“Heywood Healthcare remains steadfast in its commitment to exceptional patient-centered care and local access to essential health services,” Pennney said in a statement Friday. “We are grateful to our medical staff, employees, board, community stakeholders, legislators, and city and state officials for their unwavering support.”

Max Bowen can be reached at mbowen@atholdailynews.com or 413-930-4074.