Tough month |

Tough month

Hospital saw more patients but has no profit to show for it

Increasing costs of contractual allowances, or Medicare write-offs and other liabilities that hospitals are required to absorb, kept The Memorial Hospital from cashing in on what otherwise should have been a financially sound November, Administrator Randy Phelps said Wednesday.

The hospital saw an increase in patients last month — an average of more than 11 patients a day compared with an average of eight patients a day in October.

However, November’s increase in patients wasn’t enough to boost the hospital’s bottom line.

“I think everybody upstairs worked their little hearts out to complete our mission, and they have,” board member Melton Sullivan said at Wednesday’s board meeting. “Year-to-date, our bottom line does not look so good.”

A cash flow of more than $1.9 million a month usually is a healthy standard for the hospital, Sullivan said, but November’s topped that at $2.64 million.

Still, the hospital incurred nearly $100,000 in unanticipated costs. That, coupled with a majority of Medicare patients, led to a $310,000 operating loss for November.

In other business, board members:

n Approved almost $26,000 for software licensing and larger monitors on the hospital’s eight mobile computers. The funds also are slated to purchase another mobile computer.

n Heard a report that TMH Foundation is going forward with hiring a manager to help land grants that will go toward a new hospital. The position will be independent of TMH. The foundation has $122,000 in cash toward a new facility, Sullivan said.

n Agreed to send out letters to the three landowners of potential sites for the new hospital. Hospital officials request that the owners present their final offers to an advisory committee that will recommend a site to the board. The bids will be sealed until a 6:30 p.m. Jan. 10 meeting at TMH. The next Advisory Board meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at TMH. Committee members are expected to lay out a plan for meetings, board member Ron Danner said. The committee should recommend a site to board members by Jan. 26, Danner said.

n Heard a report from Phelps that Dr. Scott Graham was interviewed by TMH officials and had a chance to meet staff. Dr. Brian Herringa also has shown interest in the general surgeon position that TMH officials hope to fill.

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