The Fulton County Hospital Board meet recently to discuss the current condition of the hospital and it's finances. Board chairman Barry Aldridge focused on the Fulton County Ambulance Service.
"The ambulance service was in a profitable status for the year, not much, but a little, and that is better then 99 percent of ambulance services in the U.S. from my understanding. I think that is something we should be proud of," Aldridge said.
Aldridge said he will be attending the Feb. 11 meeting of the Fulton County Quorum court to present the financial information on the ambulance service, in hopes of separating it from the hospital.
"The sole aspect of trying to get this ambulance service separated from the hospital is a paper trail. As of right now the hospital does the billing for the ambulance service which ties our hospital billing number with the service," Aldridge said.
"That being the case, it costs the hospital's reimbursement. We get back around 75 percent of our expenses from the federal government. With the ambulance service being tied to the hospital, we loose space. We get so much money per-square-foot figured into our reimbursement schedule," he said.
"Over a year's time, the hospital loses about $225,000. That is no reflection on the ambulance service whatsoever, it is just the program the government has set in place. If we change out paperwork to where the ambulance service has it's own billing number and it's own billing system, which the hospital could man for the county, the county shows ownership and control of the service versus the hospital. That would allow us to get the $225,000 that we have been missing just due to a change in paperwork and a difference in filing. We don't want to miss out on that money in the future and we do not feel the ambulance service will be a burden on the county or the taxpayers," Aldrige said.
"Our intent is to try and get an additional $225,000 coming from the United States government into the Fulton County Hospital, period," Aldridge explained.
According to Aldridge, the ambulance would be able to bill the hospital for services they currently do not bill them for. The hospital will then be able to pay the ambulance service, which will increase their profits. Also the hospital will receive 75 percent of the expense back in reimbursements.
"It really doesn't hurt the hospital, but it helps make the ambulance service more profitable. It is all just a play on numbers," Aldridge said.
In other business, the hospital reported a profit of $129,488 for December.
"The financial report is very positive," Aldridge said.
According to Aldridge only two items on the expense report that need to be looked at are the professional fees and administration and medical records payroll.
"The professional fees have the doctor's fees in that. We are paying for total 24 hour E.R. coverage; that is where those fees come in. That is a $47,000 hit. The other thing we had was our administration and medical records; our payroll is inflated there some, but we think we are close to having that resolved. It was effected by pay on vacations and personal time," Aldridge said.
According to Aldridge the hospital has charges that can not be collected on by way of Dr. Kuzas.
"As of right now her number is still inactive," Aldridge said. "We are still waiting for Medicare to give us the OK to use her number for the billing. They have her in the system, we have her in the system, but we are not OK to use her number with ours until we get authorization. Dr. Summerhill is the same."
"So, we have a stock pile of funds between these doctors that is going to be setting in-between Medicare and Medicaid. When we get authorization we will have a whole pile of charges going out that we should get reimbursed on rather quickly. It's just the matter of getting these numbers authorized," Aldridge said.
The topic of expanding the nurses station was touched on. The board decided to consider the possibility and look for bids on the project from local businesses.
The actual number of emergency room visits in December were 407 up slightly from 405 in November.
Dr. Griffin Arnold had 77 E.R. visits for December, Dr. Jim Bozeman 109, and Dr. Rebecca Phillips 76.
Dr. Kuzas had 102 E.R. visits in December, Dr. Summerhill 42 and Dr. Moody one.
According to admissions for the hospital there were 68 Medicare patients in December.