Carolinas HealthCare expansion efforts pay off in first half of 2015

Charlotte, N.C.-based Carolinas HealthCare System reported net operating revenue of $4.4 billion for the first half of 2015, up from $4.1 billion for the same period of last year. The system's strong financial performance is largely attributable to its focus on making it easier for patients to access care, according to a Charlotte Observer report.

Patients are becoming more active in choosing where they receive medical care due to the growing popularity of high-deductible health plans. Some patients with high-deductible plans are looking for the lowest price, while others are looking for the most convenient place to receive care. Carolinas HealthCare is focusing on the convenient care portion of the equation.

In recent years, the system has built urgent care centers, freestanding emergency departments and "destination centers," including clusters of primary care physicians, pediatricians and internists to make care more accessible, according to the report. In addition, Carolinas HealthCare also lets patients speak with physicians through virtual appointments using their mobile devices or computers.

Expanding its reach across its service area has paid off for the system, as patient visits to its medical group increased 11.5 percent in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period of last year. The system also reported inpatient discharges at its facilities were up 8.6 percent in the first half of 2015 over the same period of 2014.

Although the system has already greatly expanded its reach across its service area, it has plans to make accessing care even more convenient for its patients in the future.

"Our mantra going forward is going to be making things easier for customers," Carolinas HealthCare System CEO Michael Tarwater told members of the system's board at their quarterly meeting, according to the report.

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