CHICAGO — Breaking even on Medicare might seem like a unicorn or Chicago Cubs’ World Series title to some health care leaders. But one hospital in rural Montana is excelling at that mantra, all while promising not to lay off any employees, or diminish their benefits.

John Goodnow, CEO of Great Falls-based Benefis Health System, detailed his organization’s four-year cost-reduction effort at ACHE’s 2014 Congress on Healthcare Leadership. With a payer mix about 53 percent Medicare and surging bad debt, Benefis leaders had no choice but to dramatically reduce costs to balance the books. Since the effort started in 2009, Benefis is now earning a 2.6 percent profit margin on Medicare patients and is close to break even on Medicaid, too.

Goodnow provides some of the details in this H&HN Daily video interview:

Goodnow said every hospital leader should make breaking even on Medicare a goal.