Hospital Authority has positive audit report

Published 9:42 am Friday, August 24, 2012

The main focus of the Memorial Hospital and Manor Authority meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 21, was the presentation of the fiscal year-end audit report for the year ended March 31, 2012, presented by C. Bert Bennett of Draffin & Tucker, CPAs.

On the whole, Memorial Hospital’s financial operations showed desirable trends. Excess revenues over expenses for 2012 were a positive $651,000, compared to a $1,408,000 loss in 2011. This prompted a comment that this was the largest net revenue seen over the last five years of operations. Bennett concluded his presentation by remarking, “I have enjoyed this presentation a lot more than the ones I have given in prior years.”

Statistical comparisons for the hospital were also made — with averages for national hospitals with less than 100 beds, and with hospitals statewide, regardless of bed size. Memorial Hospital compared favorably in most areas; however one area of concern is the percentage of gross patient revenue from inpatient, outpatient and other health care operations that is not collected because of bad debt write-offs.

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One attempt to address the bad debt write-off situation was given by CEO Billy Walker in his monthly report.

Beginning Sept. 1, the hospital will make a stronger effort to collect fees up-front for such services as lab, radiology and elective surgeries and treatments. Walker stressed this did not apply to emergency situations. Walker said this has become necessary due to the growth in accounts receivables, the challenge of collecting accounts, and the elimination of the county’s $250,000 funding for uninsured and indigent care patients.

Also, in response to the new challenges presented in collecting accounts, the hospital board approved entering into a one-year contract with the HFMI company to provide in-house personnel to work with patients, to determine their eligibility for Medicaid and other programs that may assist them with their medical expenses.

Key indicators for the months of June and July, 2012, showed a net income for June of $375,710, while July was a net income loss of $25,750.20. However, year-to-date net income is a positive $694,831.

Walker’s report continued by saying that due to the challenge of increasing census, the hospital will be utilizing mid-level care providers (defined as nurse practitioners and physician assistants) in the emergency department and the mid-surgery department.

Other announcements were:

• Demolition of the Amelia Avenue buildings has been completed and rebuilding has begun on the new primary care building. Plumbing and electrical has been roughed in and the project should move along quickly.

• Buffet-style dining has been initiated in the Manor and has been “tremendously received” by the residents.

• The new Digital Mammography machine went live in July. Estimates were that the hospital would see a return on the investment with an average of 7.4 patients per day. As of mid-August, they are now seeing an average of 10.2 patients per day. The increased volume and increased Medicare reimbursement for that process will justify the investment cost in a shorter time.

• Four new physicians will be joining the staff in the fall. October will see the addition of Dr. Katherine Wiegman as an internist and Dr. Jarrod Wiegman as a hospitalist. In November, there will be two new family practitioners, Dr. Kerwyn Flowers and Dr. Prysca Ngalame.

The board approved entering into a one-year contract with a EHR, a consulting group that help the hospital with the RAC (Recover Audit Contractors) audits. Hospital records are now being audited to recover some Medicare payments that may have been paid due to incorrect admission wording status. Walker explained that at time of admission, patients are classified either as “inpatient,” meaning they stay longer than one day, or “observation,” those who stay for only one day. Medicare reimburses at different levels, depending upon the stated admission status.

The hospital recently had 12 records audited, and four were found to have “wrong” classifications, for which the hospital had to reimburse Medicare. It is believed this will trigger additional audits. The consulting group will help educate admitting personnel on classification terminology and also assist with appeals. The company will be paid on a case-by-case basis, as needed.


Capital equipment and building-and-grounds purchases approved

Hard rock maple handrails installed in the front main entrance and hallway into the Kirbo Women’s Center. Cost, $18,978.60.

• Continuous base station transmitter that powers radio remote in the emergency room. Cost, $6,439.

• Additional software licenses and modules for rehabilitation and practice management software. Five year cost, $35,350.

• Exmark Lazer S Series zero turn commercial grade lawn mower, with three year warranty. Cost, $6,600.

It was also reported that the Hospital Foundation had recently approved donations of two more pieces of equipment: two buffet dining carts and refrigerators for the Manor, and 10 more new patient recliners.