TMH sees budget shortfall

Hospital exploring why it's $750,000 in the red


So far this year The Memorial Hospital is about $750,000 short of its budget projections.

TMH Administrator Randy Phelps said administrators are taking steps to find out the reason for the budget shortfall.

"As everyone knows by now, our healthcare business activity is not adequately supporting the financial objectives we have set for the year so far," Phelps wrote in his monthly management report. "For the fourth month in succession we had a pretty ugly result financially."

But at first glance, it's hard to figure out why the finances are so "ugly."

According to Phelps' report, the average acute care census for the year is about 8.3 patients per day, up 18 percent from the first three months last year.

Other numbers are holding strong, including outpatient visits and transition care patients.

So far this year, 37 babies have been delivered at TMH, up 42 percent from last year.

A financial report submitted at the end of April showed that patient days for April were 245, which is 26 more than budgeted and 55 more than April of 2002.

Year to date, patient days were 991, which is 110 more than budget and 147 more than last year.

The Memorial Hospital converted to critical access status in March of last year, which makes it eligible for cost-based reimbursements for Medicare patients.

The conversion was supposed to provide the hospital with enough additional income to support a debt service for construction of a new hospital.

The conversion has kicked up revenues, but not as much as officials had anticipated.

Total patient revenues were $13,839 less than budgeted for April, but $262,588 more than last year.

In his report Wednesday, Phelps said steps are being taken to investigate the "charge capture system" and make sure nothing was overlooked in the system resulting from the recent computer conversion.

Chief Financial Officer Roger White said that the hospital was going to conduct a partial year cost report to make sure TMH is receiving the amount of money it projected it should in Medicare reimbursements.

Another area that will be investigated is staffing at TMH.

So far this year, TMH is $300,000 over budget on salaries.

Phelps said the Quorum Health Resources Management Team, which manages TMH, will conduct a study to find out the number of hours being worked by employees at TMH.

They will then compare those numbers with what type of services are being provided at TMH, and see how it compares to benchmarks set in the healthcare industry as a whole.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or

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