Hospital sees 3rd-straight month with loss

Published 8:59 am Friday, October 19, 2012

Key financial indicators for Memorial Hospital and Manor again showed a disappointing net income loss for the month of September of $94,562. This is the third straight month the hospital has reported losses, according to figures released at Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Hospital Authority.

Financial committee chair Glennie Bench commented, “It makes a trend we don’t like to see,” but noted that the hospital is still ahead of its annual budget projection.

Further analysis of the figures showed the patient census was down in September and ideas were proposed to make corrections there.

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The hospital and community have five new physicians coming on staff and there will be a marketing campaign to encourage patients to use them.

“We need to counter the belief that you can’t get in to see a doctor here,” Bench said. “We are getting more good doctors and you can get in to see a doctor when you need one.”

New physicians that have begun practicing, or will be at the first of the year are:

Katherine Wiegman, M.D., internal medicine/family practice; Jarrod Wiegman, M.D., internal medicine/family practice and working as a hospitalist; Prysca Ngalamae, M.D., family practice, beginning Oct. 29; Kerwyn Flowers, D.O., family practice, starting Nov. 5; and Richard Zlotnik, M.D. general surgeon. No final date has been set for Dr. Zlotnik, but it is projected he should start practicing in January 2013.

Patients will also be encouraged to go ahead and schedule those procedures they may have been putting off and get them done before the end of the year, when their deductibles start over Jan. 1.

Expenses have also risen, and CEO Billy Walker said each department is being asked to look closely at their budgets and look at ways to cut expenses in their areas.

One area of concern is the growing cost of employee benefits, up 17 percent for the year.

This prompted Bench to suggest the hospital look into implementing a comprehensive wellness program, such as the one that had been proposed to the Bainbridge City Council. The City of Bainbridge turned the proposal down, but Bench said there has been a reduction of claims seen by all who have used such programs.

The Authority voted to approve capital equipment purchases for an additional laparoscopic insufflator used to pump carbon dioxide into a body cavity, making space for examination of the cavity during laparoscopic surgery. The cost is $8,340.90.

Also approved was a MediTech patient discharge instruction module in order to meet the Meaningful Use Stage 1 core set of objectives. It provides patients with an electronic copy of their discharge instructions. The five year cost for the module is $52,950, plus a five year subscription cost of $46,836.33 for care notes. The combined five year cost of this project will be $99,786.33.

Also approved was payment of additional $16,425 for recommended extra wind bracing on the roof of the Amelia Avenue primary care building currently under construction.

A name for the new building was chosen by the authority, after considering a long list of names suggested by employees. It will now be known as Amelia Medical Plaza.

Memorial Hospital and Manor employees will continue to receive Christmas turkeys this year, as the board approved the $8,309 expenditure.

Walker announced that the September Employee of the month was Pat Dean, registered respiratory therapist who has worked at Memorial for 24 years. She was nominated in recognition of her help with the Bridge of Excellence team efforts, even though she is not a team member and does it on her own time. She was unable to be at the board meeting to receive the recognition personally due to a prior family commitment.

Following a closed executive session, the board went back into open meeting and approved the minutes of the executive committee, the total quality management meeting minutes, and medical staff credentials for two new physicians and renewals for existing ones.