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Hospital focused on getting on track

The Hospital Authority announced at its meeting Tuesday that Memorial Hospital and Manor had to dip into savings to make payroll earlier this month, and its leadership is focused on implementing programs that will help financially both in the short and long terms.

Hospital CEO Billy Walker cited a slowdown of cash collections lead the hospital to not having enough money to meet the costs of operation.

“Last week effectively was the perfect storm,” said Glennie Bench, authority treasurer. “We had all these issue impacting cash negatively at that time, as well as a tight cash situation to begin with. We don’t have reserves to draw on for those normal cyclical business issues that people deal with. (It was) between that and the fact that some of these improvements we are working on, we have not seen the benefit of those.”

These improvements include focusing on the hospitals collection process, following up with patients to ensure bills are delivered in a timely manner and payment is received on time.

According to Bench, these programs are in place and hospital staff is on board with a tighter financial upkeep. Positive results will hopefully be evident in the next 90 days.

“We want to see some midlevel milestones,” Bench added. Success will be measured over the next 90, 180 and even 270 days, as well as over a more long-term timeline.

The hospital’s line of credit, currently up to $2 million, is dry, but Walker said he and the authority are exploring other credit options to help with the lack of a reserve fund.

“We have a lot of balls in the air that we are juggling, and we can’t afford to drop a single ball, or the process gets impeded,” Walker said. “We have to stay focused on a daily basis and adjust on a daily basis.”

Memorial Hospital averaged 23 patients a day last month, a number that hasn’t been that low since January.

The $36,000 in proceeds from the Derby Day Party fundraiser in May and a recent half-marathon race is being used for renovations in the hospital.