Memorial Board talks finance, possibility of losing SPLOST funds

Published 8:44 pm Friday, January 24, 2014

Memorial Hospital and Manor has only three months left in their current fiscal year, and financial matters continued to dominate the business discussion at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Hospital CEO Billy Walker and board chairman Charles Tyson told of their plans to attend the upcoming discussion meetings being held with the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County Commission regarding the allocation of SPLOST funds in anticipation of the referendum for SPLOST VI, which is coming up for re-election.
In the current SPLOST, Memorial Hospital and Manor receive 12 percent of the one cent sales tax, and they want to make the public aware of how important that amount is to the future of the hospital. They indicate that the money received from SPLOST is spent on capital equipment and capital improvements. They stressed how       important the hospital is to the local economy, citing it is the second largest employer in the county and that they provided more than $9 million in uncompensated care last year to patients without the ability to pay for health care needs.
The month of December 2013 showed a net income of $115,189 after November’s loss of $182,406. Year to date the net income is $335,356, while last year-to-date was $707,218.
Treasurer Glennie Bench said that even though gross patient revenue and net revenue are both higher this year-to-date than last year, expenses are greater than last year. She attributes much of the increased expenditures to salaries and benefits, with the new physicians and medical staff added in the past year. She stated that they are roughly $400,000 behind budget at this point and cash is tight.
There continues to be slow pay from self-pay patients. This triggered a conversation among the board members who expressed concerns looking down the road with the Affordable Care Act, those who are encountering problems, or just not complying with enrollment.
The hospital has previously contracted with a person to assist un-insured patients access programs to help with their medical expenses. This information will be available in the physicians’ offices as well as the hospital.
The board approved one capital equipment purchase for an interface program that connects patient’s electronic health records with MediTech. At present medical staff  and the Medical Records Department are unable to view any clinical notes relating to rehabilitation services. Currently these notes are routinely printed out and multiple copies given all departments that need access to the information. Cost of the CONNECT interface program is $31,500 over a five year period.
The CEO update included information that Dr. Narlito Cruz, allergist/immunologist, is returning to Bainbridge on a limited basis. He will see patients on alternate Tuesdays at the Amelia Avenue Specialty Clinic.
The hospital is systematically updating the patient rooms with fresh paint. So far 20 rooms have been completed.
The hospital has received accreditation certification from DNV and is beginning a three-year process to obtain ISO certification.
Reimbursement funds for completing Phase I of the medical use electronic health records is expected any day, even as work begins on year two
An on-line employee satisfaction survey will be conducted Feb. 3 – 16.
The Hospital Foundation had considered hiring a full-time development person and conducted five interviews, but the decision has been made not to go forward with that position at this time.
Following an executive session, the board returned to open meeting and approved the minutes from the executive meeting, the TQM meeting of Jan. 9 and medical staff credentialing allowing Dr. Katherine Wiegman to have Emergency Medicine privileges.

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