The board of trustees for The Memorial Hospital convenes for its monthly meeting. Among the issues at hand was a report from CFO Bryan Chalmers about TMH's financial status for the year-to-date and how to improve in the latter half of the year.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

The board of trustees for The Memorial Hospital convenes for its monthly meeting. Among the issues at hand was a report from CFO Bryan Chalmers about TMH's financial status for the year-to-date and how to improve in the latter half of the year.

TMH administration aims to keep finances in check

At the midway point of 2013, The Memorial Hospital in Craig is seeing less revenue for the year than expected.

A summary of the hospital’s financial statement presented to the board of trustees Thursday evening by chief financial officer Bryan Chalmers showed the total net income for the year to date as a loss. The document shows TMH’s total operating revenue for 2013 to this point at about $14.6 million, overshadowed by about $17 million in total expenses.

For the month of June alone, the hospital suffered a total net income loss of more than $200,000, and revenues are calculated to be 11.7 percent less than this point in 2012.

TMH is working on implementing a financial improvement plan to determine how they can improve the numbers by minimizing loss wherever possible.

Chalmers said TMH is not much different from most hospitals across the nation in seeing income dwarfed by expenses.

“Some people are saying it’s because of health reform, some are saying the economy,” he said. “Another thing is insurance because those companies have put more of the cost on the employee.”

Jennifer Riley, TMH’s chief of organizational excellence, said the primary issue the hospital is facing is underutilization from the community. Because of the potential cost to them, many people won’t seek treatments or surgeries for medical concerns unless they’re absolutely life threatening, Riley said.

“With some companies, employees have to pay 25 percent of all their costs, and that can be a problem if it’s something as big as $10,000,” she said.

Riley said the numbers are a concern but not a call for alarm. In fact, a statistical report from Quorum Health Resources shows TMH consistently is ranked higher than many hospitals in its database in how its finances are handled.

Riley said she thinks new leadership within TMH also will help the organization. Chris Smolik, who started as chief executive officer about six weeks ago, has been very proactive in his new position.

At the meeting, the COE reported on his efforts reach out to the medical community of Craig and determine what kind of expenditures would benefit TMH in the long run.

“His first 45 days has been spent going through the specifics of what our business is,” Riley said. “‘Where is our community getting its care?’ and ‘What can we do to entice people to come here?’ He’s hit this head-on.”

Riley added that Smolik’s experience in neighboring communities of Riverton and Lander, Wyo., has helped him see a variety of needs in health care.

“He’s used to these issues, and he can see where we can spend some money to make some money,” she said. “He recognizes that this is significant, but you can’t cut your way to salvation and say we’re going to get rid of X services or X people and save our way to a positive bottom line. We have to grow our way.”

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@craigdailypress.com.

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