The Fulton County Hospital has gone through some major changes over the years as it has been growing. But those additions come with a hefty price tag. The hospital board meeting on Monday, July 28, had some good news about updating the old kitchen, though. The board breathed a sigh of relief when they found out that the Food and Drug Administration inspected the kitchen floor and said the hospital did not need to tear it out, which saves time on construction and money.
The hospital's growth has done a lot for finances. Chief Executive Officer Angie Richmond gave the financial report for the hospital. She said, "The cash balance is a little bit lower than May," but patient revenue is up $5 million from last year. Net patient revenue is also up 28 percent from last year.
"We were $25,000 short to operate," Richmond said. To compensate for the loss the hospital has started billing for stress tests.
Dr. Griffin Arnold, board chairman, pointed out that swing bed statistics are climbing. Swing bed admissions went up from five in June of last year to eight this year. Swing bed revenue has also jumped $864,624 from last year. Richmond said the hospital would "try to have at least four swing beds available at all times."
The hospital also saw increases in the volume of employees. It added a new employee in dietary. Board member Sue Hertzog said, "I'm sure they needed it." The hospital is also planning on adding more staff to the emergency room. Adding hospital staff may help with the restlessness many hospital employees often feel. This concern brought about the issue of staff not getting enough rest when they have long shifts.
Salem Police Chief and hospital board member Al Roork expressed his concerns about hospital staff looking and feeling tired on the job. Roork said he knew someone who had seen one of the hospital staff "looking so tired." Dr. Arnold agreed with the concerns surrounding this issue.
Dr. Arnold said he and Dr. Jim Bozeman have worked out an arrangement. When one of them is on call and hasn't gotten rest, the other will come and take over for four hours so the doctor on call can get some sit-down time. Dr. Arnold said he could see the potential need for two doctors in the ER on weekends.
The growth of the hospital is clearly visible in the lack of good parking spaces. The reality of it hits many drivers as their wheels bump and rumble across the makeshift gravel parking area. Richmond said the full parking lot is great "because people can see that we're being used. The biggest problem is on Tuesday when the MRI truck comes in."
Roork said, "We've got to have room somehow." The problem is getting the land to make a nice parking lot.
The meeting ended with a closed session on hospital quality. Dr. Arnold said, "There are little things we (hospitals) can do to save 5 million lives per year," before the board went into executive session.