Hospital to keep possession of Willow Ridge

Published 4:24 pm Friday, May 22, 2009

At the May 15 meeting of the Memorial Hospital Authority, CEO Jim Peak announced that the Willow Ridge assisted living facility will no longer be sold and will remain under the Memorial Hospital and Manor.

In February, the authority unanimously approved the sale of the facility, located at 801 Faceville Hwy. in Bainbridge, to Brookins Elderserve Inc. for a net profit of $1.6 million.

Peak said that Brookins Elderserve Inc. has backed out of the deal and hospital administrators had recently informed residents that the facility would remain under the hospital.

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Chief Financial Officer Billy Walker said that the facility is currently operating at a loss with the current rates being charged to residents. Both Walker and Peak recommended a rate increase that would allow the facility to break even—to be approved by the authority.

“We want to continue to maintain the same amount of services and activities at the facility,” said Walker. “Our goal is to break even and still maintain the same level of services and care.”

The rate increases per month include regular-sized rooms increasing by $450, large-sized rooms increasing by $600 and shared room rates increasing by $100.

Walker said the rate increase were comparable to rates of other facilities in the southwest Georgia area. He said the hospital will also be reviewing and possibly adding additional activities for Willow Ridge residents.

The authority approved the rate increases, which will go into effect Aug. 1.

Financial Committee

The hospital reported a net income loss of $102,557 for the month on April.

The figure is down $598,138 from one month prior in March when the hospital showed a profit of $495,581.

Walker attributes a decrease in patient revenue to April being a shorter month with only 30 days, and many people being gone for the week of spring break. He also said there was an increase in overtime for hospital worker due to many employees taking time off during the month.

The authority approved a minimum wage increase for hospital employees to coincide with the upcoming federal minimum wage increase.

Assistant Administrator Cathy Willis reported that on July 6 the national minimum wage was going up to $7.25. Willis recommended the minimum wage for hospital employees to be increased to $7.50, which would affect approximately 37 employees. The increase would accumulate an estimated annual cost of $33,467.20 to the hospital.

Building and Grounds

The authority approved a number of purchases recommended by the building and ground committee.

Purchases approved include the replacement of siding and painting of two outbuildings with an estimated cost of $4,000; a request for drawings and specifications for an upgrade to current for medical gas delivering machinery used in surgery; and an after-the-fact purchase of $440.70 for a temporary repair of corrosion on a heat exchanger (which heats patients rooms) until replacement parts can be purchased.

The authority was informed that the original main air fan and air handling ductwork for the hospital needs to be replaced.

Charles Tyson said a two-year-old budgetary figure provided to the hospital for the replacement of the chilled water coils, high efficiency filter housing, affected ductwork and insulation was $45,850. The repairs will take approximately 10 days, during which time the surgery department will have to be completely closed.

Peak said the hospital is looking into a number of options for surgery operations when the renovations take place including setting up a portable operating room outside of the hospital and coordinating surgeries to take place with surrounding hospitals.

The building committee is awaiting a current cost estimate for the renovations.