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Auditors: hospital finances improving

The annual audit report for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 was presented by Mr. Bert Bennett of  Draffin & Tucker, CPAs, when the Memorial Hospital and Manor Authority met Tuesday for their August meeting.

Bennett presented details regarding the financial condition of the hospital and reviewed the internal controls and processes used.

Bennett was complimentary of the hospital on the decrease in expenses this past fiscal year. The average number of days in accounts receivables outstanding were 71 for 2011, up from 65 for 2010. This is reported to be due to issues with Medicare and Medicaid and increased third-party payor deductibles. The national average is 56 days; the state average is 57 days. Because of contractual arrangements with Medicare and Medicaid, the hospital wrote off 48.6 percent of their charges.

The proportion of long-term debt to the sum of long-term debt and net assets, or equity, is 11.8 percent, down from 12.4 percent in 2010. The national average is 22.2 percent and the state average is 18.3 percent, which puts Memorial Hospital in a better position than other hospitals in the auditors’ comparison study.

In general, Mr. Bennett said he feels the hospital has made great strides in turning its financial situation around, and the administration should be commended for this.

Hospital president and CEO Billy Walker said he was very pleased with the audit report and the complimentary comments on reduction of expense management and the turn around on the financial situation so far.

The Finance Committee reported another positive income figure for the month of July, that the hospital had a net income of $8,724. The hospital has a positive net income of $351,615 year-to-date, compared to last year’s net income loss of $1,300,929.

Total overtime hours for July 2011 were 1,356 and costs were $25,592, compared to 2,092 hours and $45,867 in July 2010.

Moving forward on building renovations

Three bids were received for the renovation of Dr. Aric Aldridge’s office and Memorial Pediatrics’ office. The authority voted to award the job to PDC Construction of Bainbridge, who submitted the low bid of $128,000. Walker said construction should begin within the next week to ten days.

Preliminary drawings for the proposed primary care office building renovations on Amelia Ave. were presented. The board voted to go forward to development of full plans and construction documents, which will be used to obtain bids.

Preliminary plans call for relocating the front of the building and building a covered drop-off for easy patient access. Combining these three buildings under one roof will allow for approximately 16,000 square feet (including canopy) with 27 exam rooms for nine providers. A centralized business office would be located with a waiting room capacity for 50 patients.

Authority to hold special meetings

There will be a full day board retreat held locally on Tuesday, Aug. 23. Walker said all department heads have been asked to supply written visions for their departments. There will also be physician recruitment suggestions, reporting on the Bridge to Excellence being conducted by the Baptist Leadership Group, and an open discussion period.

County Commissioner and City Council members are invited to meet for a dinner meeting with the Hospital Authority on Aug. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Kirbo Women’s Center at the hospital. Walker said by reinitiating this practice, which was discontinued several years ago, he hopes to foster better relations with both authorities and keep them informed of what the hospital plans and goals are.

Other business and reports

• Purchase of two uninterruptible power supplies that allow the server room to remain operable during power loss at the hospital were approved for payment at a cost of $51,750, installed.

A revised organizational chart was presented and approved by the board. The prior administrator had many departments reporting directly to him. Under the new plan, Walker said the clinical departments will report to Assistant Administrator of Nursing, Cynthia Vickers, while others will report to Assistant Administrator for Support Services, Lee Harris; to CFO Karen Fairchild and to Jan Bennett, head of quality and resource management, all of whom then report to Walker.