Hospital still has net gain for fiscal year

Published 12:26 pm Friday, February 24, 2012

Finances continue to dominate Memorial Hospital and Manor Authority board meetings. Members expressed disappointment Tuesday with the financial key indicators for January when they learned the hospital recorded a loss of $68,917 for the month.  This came after experiencing seven months of positive figures out of the past 10 months.

One explanation given for the downturn was that the January patient census was down, as is historically the case, since insurance deductibles begin again with the first of the year and people are prone to postpone any elective procedures.

On the positive side, the hospital is still ahead of last year by $2,065,120. This time last year, the net income was minus-$1,719,376. This year-to-date is a positive $345,744, and expenses are down $735,839 over last year-to-date.

CEO Billy Walker added that the patient census for February was up.

“If it stays on track, we will be back in positive figures for February,” he said.

One capital equipment purchase was approved for two additional automated medication dispensing cabinets used in the obstetrics and ICU units. The total five-year cost is $183,743.16. These are required to meet the meaningful use objectives of the electronic health record systems, thus making the hospital eligible for financial incentives.

A report on the capital equipment budget indicated approval has been given year-to-date for $1.6 million dollars of purchases, $923,146.97 of which have been spent and paid. There was $600,000 budgeted for that purpose. Much of the expenses incurred have been to purchase computer programs and software to implement mandated coding required by the new electronic medical records standards. These would make the hospital eligible for incentive money reimbursement if standard criteria are met by deadline dates.

Walker explained the hospital is looking at additional anticipated expenses of $4.5 million dollars over the next 12 months. Two million ($2,000,000) of that is for the renovation and equipping of the Amelia Avenue office complex, and the other $2.5 million for purchase and installation of new radiology and nuclear medicine equipment and additional purchases to meet the “meaningful use” requirements.

In order to meet these expenses, Walker proposed establishing a line of credit with a bank for 12 months, and at the end of that period negotiate a loan with permanent interest rates and regularly scheduled payments to be paid in full in five years. Proposals were requested from the local banks, and two proposals were received — First Port City Bank and First State Bank. The board approved the First Port City Bank proposal for the 12-month line of credit, with the final loan to be negotiated later. At that time, the board would welcome all banks to jointly participate.

An update on the Amelia Avenue office renovations was given. Architectural renderings of the exterior and interior office layouts were shown. Questions were raised about the progress on engineering the holding pond, as several board members noted standing water at the building after recent heavy rains. Assurance was given that the city engineer is designing it.

The CEO update included comments on the progress of the Journey to Excellence, as the hospital works to move from “good” to “great.” Employees are submitting recommendations and additional employee recognition programs are being initiated.

Patient surveys show a significant increase in patient satisfaction, according to Walker, who said percentiles are up, especially in the categories of “quiet at night,” which is now in the 99th percentile and “nurse communications,” now up to 88 percent from 70 percent during this fiscal year, which began in May 2011.

The board went into executive session at 5:05 p.m. and returned 30 minutes later to re-open the meeting, where they voted on the Jan. 16 executive meeting minutes and approved medical staff credentialing for two new appointees and 12 reappointments.

Announcements:

March 30 will be Doctors Day, when doctors will be recognized with a luncheon.

April 14 will see the one-half marathon in the morning and the Derby Night in the evening, sponsored by the Memorial Hospital Foundation as a fundraiser.

May 6-12 is designated as Hospital Week, when the employee luncheon and awards will be presented.