Hospital finances on the rebound

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By the end of April, the state of financial affairs at The Memorial Hospital looked bleak. So bleak, in fact, that the hospital was approaching $400,000 in losses.

What a difference two months can make.

In just 60 days' time, the hospital's finances have rebounded by $350,000, TMH chief executive officer George Rohrich reported at Wednesday night's meeting of the board of trustees.

"Between those two months, we have (trimmed) $388,000 to about $38,000," Rohrich said of the hospital's year-to-date operating loss. "We lost money through April. May and June were profitable."

At a small, community hospital, finances can rebound that quickly. Rohrich said there isn't much rhyme or reason to the financial turnaround. He credits it simply to the hospital having more patients in recent months.

"We can't see a pattern," Rohrich said.

"Everything was down, and then it just started getting busier," he said. "You can't judge a hospital from month to month. You could be anywhere from $200,000 plus or minus every month. That's normal of a hospital this size."

True to Rohrich's statement, finances in July haven't been so positive. Chief financial officer Roger White told the board that this month "has been a slow month again," and that he was hoping for a late surge to help even out the current figures and those projected in the budget.

At the end of May, Rohrich helped calm the news from a financial report that indicated the hospital was hemorrhaging money to the tune of about $1.5 million less gross revenue that was budgeted for the first four months of the year.

White and Rohrich, however, said they were confident the hospital's finances would improve as the year progressed. Rohrich told the board of trustees that a "positive movement is happening."

Wednesday night's financial news seemed to confirm that shift, and Rohrich said he was optimistic that those positive strives would continue, possibly culminating with the hospital ending the year with a surplus.

Ending 2006 with an operating surplus would give the hospital two consecutive years in the black.

"We're hoping those figures move further and further away from the red," he said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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