Hospital Authority gets updates

Published 11:21 am Friday, October 22, 2010

Finances continue to dominate Memorial Hospital Authority board meetings.

The key indicators for the month of September reported at the Oct. 19 meeting show gross patient revenues of $6,104,942, down from August figure of $6,840,301; while expenses increased from $3,275,631 in August to $3,360,317 in September.

A net income loss of $350,849 for September and of $1,716,352 for the year-to-date compares to net income loss of $949,956 year to date last year.

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Finance Chairman Glennie Bench said the figures include the first quarterly payment of the newly imposed “bed tax” expense of $80,000 paid to the state. Although reimbursement payments have begun, they are not at this time sufficient to recover the full amount, according to CEO Jim Peak.

Discussions were held on ways to continue to consolidate services and reduce expenses. Bench has asked for a study and report to be made to the authority on whether or not the hospital is effectively offering the services the community needs.

Although no capital equipment requests were presented to the authority, three emergency expenditures made by the buildings and grounds committee were presented and approved by the board.

• $18,875 for a galvanized hot water basin and plastic balance clean chamber replacement on the 400-ton cooling tower.

• $5,500 to replace a failed pump on a refrigerated purge that removes air from the refrigerant.

• $9,370 to replace a 16-year-old 7-1/2 ton roof air-conditioning unit that failed and began pouring water into the TV sitting area of the Manor.

Board member Charles Tyson also advised that the replacement of the Willow Ridge Center air-conditioning unit, although not totally complete, has already showed improvements in the July and August utility bills. July was reduced by 35.5 percent in kilowatt hours and August by 47.3 percent.

Peak began his update by reminding the authority of the upcoming Health Fair that will be given by the hospital on two separate dates this year.

A special date for seniors, (over 65) will be given Nov. 4 at First Baptist Church from 8 a.m. to noon. This is to make the waiting time shorter for those persons who may have difficulty standing in line for long periods of time.

The question was raised whether or not this date could also accommodate those with special needs.

Peak responded that anyone with special needs should call Jan Godwin at the hospital, explain their situation, and make arrangements to be taken care of on the 4th.

The date for the rest of the community will be Nov. 10 at the Bainbridge Mall from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

These health fairs are offered by the hospital free of charge except for $20 the laboratory wellness profile and a fee of $15 for the PSA screening for prostate cancer. The wellness profile is a value of $322 in blood work including a lipid profile, glucose, BUN, creatine, Hemoglobin and Hemaocrit tests. The PSA test is a value of $122.

Peak also urged members of the community to vote for Amendment 2, which would place an additional $10 on the automobile licensing fee annually. Peak said although Decatur County won’t directly receive any of that money, it will go to help fund the establishment of trauma centers that could possibly save lives of those in Southwest Georgia.

There is not a top-level trauma center in Southwest Georgia. The closest one in Georgia is in Macon. Augusta and Grady Hospital in Atlanta have the only Level 1 trauma centers in Georgia.

Our hospital has had to send patients as far away as Shands in Gainesville, Fla., or Birmingham, if not able to get them into Tallahassee, Fla.