During the Hospital Board of Governor's Dec. 20 meeting, the financial woes of the new North Arkansas Family Clinic were brought front and center.
"For the clinic, the total of payments for the work the physicians have done over there totaled for the month at $16,599," said Hammond, as he presented the November financial reports. "If you subtract the salaries from the clinic for the physicians, office labor and the nursing/techs, you come up with a loss for the month of November of $29,063. Over the course of a year, that comes right out to around a $350,000 loss. That's obviously a loss we can't sustain in the long run. It will improve somewhat at the first of the year, when we change over to a provider-based clinic, allowing us to qualify some costs for reimbursements. Will it help cover all of this loss? No."
Hammond went on to discuss the patient loads of the two physicians at the clinic. For the month of November, at the hospital: Dr. Madhulika Krish saw 38 patients, with a total of 54 visits; Dr. Saab saw 11 patients, with a total of 11 visits. At the clinic: Dr. Krish saw 132 patients, with a total of 190 visits; Dr. Saab saw 55 patients, with a total of 60 visits.
The clinic situation was discussed further by the Board in executive session and, upon returning to open session, the recommendation was made to Hammond to activate Saab's termination clause. Hammond noted that Dr. Saab will be at the clinic, seeing patients up to and including April 30, 2011, in accordance with the contract.
Getting back to the hospital's financials, Hammond noted that the amount of actual cash on hand at the end of November was shrinking. "As of Nov. 30, cash had dropped to $38,673 as opposed to the $156,388 the month before. As far as cash today goes, we have cash for payroll as well as some for Accounts Payable. Accounts Receivables are up about $20,000 for the month. Our loss year to date is $639,138, however our revenues in the outpatient and swing bed departments were up significantly over the same period last year."
In other business, Ken Harper and Trena Spears with the Fulton County Hospital Foundation shared some good news with the Board.
"The Foundation wants to give a big thank you to board member Danny Perryman," said Spears. "He recently helped us get some equipment for the Physical Therapy department and we appreciate him very much and his giving back to the hospital."
Spears went on to discuss a new scholarship program the Foundation is readying to put into place. "At the first of the year, we are going to start an employee give back program. Using the money that the employees are currently designating from their salaries to the Foundation, we will be giving that back in the form of scholarships for the children or grandchildren of employees graduating high school or employees who are furthering their own education."
In addition to the scholarship program, the Foundation also recently purchased a Bi-PAP (Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure) machine, which was requested by the hospital. The Bi-PAP machine is a breathing apparatus that helps people get more air into their lungs.
"We have a group of people who work hard and want to see a lot of things done for the hospital," said Harper. "In that spirit, we are essentially trying to get our thrift shop idea going in the new year and believe there are some good possibilities for locations here in town."
The board expressed their appreciation to the Foundation and thanked Spears and Harper for attending the meeting.
Chief of Staff, Dr. Jim Bozeman reported to the Board that the medical staff were making it a priority to get their paperwork and dictation done in a more timely manner, in order to speed up bill processing.
"We also have three advanced practice nurses whom we have given temporary privileges to admit and round on patients effective immediately: Renee Arnold, Denise Clifton and Ruth Skarpates," said Bozeman.
Next on the agenda, Hammond presented a new Gift Acceptance Policy for the hospital, to handle purchases such as the new Bi-PAP machine from the Foundation as well as other donations and gifts to the hospital.
"We don't have a policy in place right now as to how the hospital accepts or treats gifts, whether it be from the Foundation or from individual donors," said Hammond. "I asked our attorney to draw up a policy that would structure that out for us."
The new policy basically outlines that all future gifts or donations to the hospital must be reviewed first by Hammond, before being accepted or rejected. The policy was accepted unanimously by the Board.
Next on the agenda were some maintenance issues concerning the vacuum and oxygen lines in the Swing Bed and South Wing units. "As you know, we are in a building that needs some maintenance and repair from time to time," said Hammond. "The vacuum lines and oxygen lines running in the Swing Bed Unit and in the South Wing are in need of repair and the regulators that work with the current system simply aren't being made anymore."
The board reviewed two quotes for the work, favoring the quote that included a shut off valve that would enable the hospital to shut off the valves in either wing, independent of the other. The difference in the quotes was around $1,200 or about $150 per room.
"We need to have three rooms done right now, because we have issues right now with leaks," said COO Tammy Friel.
"From a safety standpoint and for doing renovations, having the ability to turn off an entire wing while leaving the other wing operational would be very helpful," said Hammond.
Concerns were raised as to if the quotes included all the necessary piping and it was agreed that Hammond would go back to the company and request a turn-key bid for the repairs.
The next meeting of the Fulton County Hospital Board of Governors is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.