Memorial Hospital Authority analyzes January finances

Published 7:07 pm Friday, February 20, 2015

An anticipated reimbursement of $1,228,661 for meeting electronic health records requirements has been received, and it put Memorial Hospital back in the black for the month of January, resulting in a net income of $434,659. However, as authority treasurer, Glennie Bench noted, if that amount were removed, they would be reporting a substantial loss. 

She noted that the patient census was unusually low for the month of January, while expenses were up.  Among those expenses were payments for greatly increased employee benefits, particularly health/dental costs. The hospital is self-insured for the first $125,000 of each individual claim, then they are reimbursed. “We have had substantial claims,” she explained, but none have reached the level for reimbursement.

Meanwhile, the hospital’s new chief financial officer, Bill Huling, is making recommendations to try to improve the financial status. There is special concern for the loss of revenue in the operation of the physician offices.

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Bench stated, “Right now, we are not looking so much at what we do, but how we handle getting paid for what we do. We collect less than half of our expenses. We need to get paid more fairly for what we do, then we can give more attention to what we do and concentrate on those things we do best.”

Two capital equipment purchases were approved.

• It was agreed to enter into a new lease agreement for a 72 month period on the Beckman Coulter instrument system used in the lab as a chemistry analyzer and immunoassay system. There is a promise to replace it with a new unit. Annual cost is $324,348.01; but represents a savings of 18 percent annually over the existing agreement, which amounts to savings of approximately $40,000 per year.

• Extended the lease agreement by 14 months with Kings Medical Group, which has supplied MRI services to Memorial Hospital and Manor for the past nine years. Terms of the new agreement will remain the same.

Carl Barber of the hospital’s continuous improvement initiative, gave a report on the Lean Six Sigma methodology training he and co-worker Kathy McQuarter have received. A concept taken from the manufacturing world, Barber explained it is a new way of constantly looking at how things are done in an effort to reduce costs and errors, eliminate waste and improve efficiency. He believes it can help the hospital to look at the flow of services and help their process of continuous improvement. He and McQuarter can teach the system in-house to other department personnel, thereby saving training costs. He stressed that even though it contains the word “lean” it does not mean cutting jobs. It may involve moving personnel to other departments where they may be better utilized. The board gave its approval to offer the training program internally.

CEO Billy Walker gave a report that included:

•The smoking cessation classes offered in January had 28 employees sign up, of which 25 actually attended, and 9 have quit smoking, while 16 have reduced their volume of tobacco usage. The class will be offered again.

• A physician’s Friday-Saturday weekend retreat has been planned.

• The Tele-health system initiated with the Board of Education will be the program March 5 at the Chamber of Commerce luncheon, and repeated on March 17 at Bainbridge Rotary.

• March 10 the hospital will host a luncheon meeting with city and county officials.

• On February 26, the quarterly training and educational seminar for the public will be  Heart Health Basics, taught by Dr. Gordon Miller in the downstairs classroom at 6 p.m.

A nominating committee of Johnny Grimsley, chair, Marvalyn Carroll and Dr, Charles Walker was appointed to choose a slate of officers for the authority’s new year.

Security guard, Mark Wooley was named Employee of the Month. He was recognized for always looking out for the safety of patients, families and staff. He has even helped change a tire for a nurse. He has been with the department since June of 2010.