Hospital reports profitable December

Published 2:41 pm Friday, January 21, 2011

Key indicators for the month of December reflect a net income of $52,271 for the Memorial Hospital and Manor, which appears to be a step in the right direction.

Chief Financial Officer and interim Co-CEO Billy Walker told the board at Tuesday’s meeting that this is the first time since August 2009 that the hospital has reported a monthly net profit.

Meanwhile, cuts and adjustments to improve the financial condition continue to be made, for the hospital still shows a net income loss of $2,214,098 year-to-date, compared to a loss of $1,905,260 for last year-to-date.

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Walker said there had been an increase in gross patient revenue for December, which accounted for an increase of $592,378 over November; but explained the hospital is coping with loss of income as it deals with reimbursement cuts in Medicare, looming cuts in Medicaid and has seen an increase in the patient liability portion of accounts receivable due after insurance has paid.

A news release, published in The Post-Searchlight on Jan. 19 announced the hospital had terminated 12 full-time employees.

Co-CEO Cynthia Vickers reported other personnel adjustments during the board meeting, indicating staff members are being rotated between departments, and personnel are being sent home when their department is not busy.

Following a closed session at the end of the board meeting, the board returned to regular meeting and voted to make adjustments to the consolidated leave policy.

The first change regards the policy of paid annual leave, which includes holiday, vacation and the first five days of sick leave. It also refers to extended illness benefits. Prior to this change a full-time employee of one year, who chose to leave in good standing could be paid the full balance of days accrued in PAL and half those in EIB. The change now requires employees to be employed five years to be eligible for payment. This is an estimated savings of $15,000 annually.

The second change was to the annual PAL accrual rate each employee gets per year. It reduced each bracket by seven days, projected to result in annual savings of $396,000. It was explained that the policies of other hospitals in the area, the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County, had all been reviewed and the only hospital found with higher numbers, even after the change, was Phoebe Putney in Albany. Walker said the vacation policy adopted by the hospital is in line with that of Decatur County employees.

In other business during the regular meeting, the hospital approved a purchase order in the amount of $24,400 issued as an emergency purchase for replacement of five fire doors that were found non-compliant in the recent visit of the Joint Commission.

It was also reported a telephone poll of board members had been made Dec. 29 to approve an immediate replacement of the medical air system at a cost of $44,157.18.

It was reported the Foundation has decided there will be no gala this year, nor will there be any special event to replace it.

Walker reported changes being made in medical office space. Dr. Kipp has moved from his office in the Wheat Avenue medical building to space on Shotwell Street formerly occupied by Dr. Moye, who has joined the practice of Burke and Robinson. The space from Kipp’s old office is being divided between the offices of Dr. Aric Aldridge on one side, and Dr. Alicia S. Estillore on the other, to expand their office spaces.

Walker said an agreement had been reached between the hospital and Dr. Ileana Popa. Walker said they are excited about her remaining with the hospital and that she is being provided with a full-time nurse and a receptionist. He also spoke of the possibility of additional physicians who may be joining the staff in the coming year.