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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Fulton County Hospital passes 2012 budget

Friday, July 15, 2011

Photo by Niki de Soto Outgoing chairman, Albert Roork, was presented with a plaque of appreciation by the current Fulton County Hospital Board Chairman, Jerry Estes (second from left), and the rest of the board members, pictured left to right: Jerry Blevins, Chairman Estes, Roork, Secretary Sue Hertzog, Danny Perryman, Vice-Chairman Bill Pace and Dr. Jim Bozeman.
The Fulton County Hospital Board of Governors met in regular session on Monday, June 27 and passed a proposed budget for 2012 that anticipates the hospital losing over $750,000.

"This budget was created with the input of the staff," said hospital administrator Joe Hammond. "As you can see, we are projecting a loss of $766,961. That doesn't reflect any impact Dr. Valach will have in the coming year, and I expect it will be significant, but to what extent, I really don't know. This will be a half a million to $600,000 gain over this year's budget."

Board member Bill Pace asked Hammond to clarify how the hospital will cut salaries by approximately $300,000.

"We have lowered salaries significantly, due to the loss of our two physicians and the absence of staff over at the clinic, and we do have a hiring freeze on right now."

Pace then added, "If we adopt this budget, are we going to live by it or just look at it? The budget from July 2010 to May 2011 shows that we should have a positive earnings, not a loss. I am accustomed to living by a budget. If our revenues go down, our expenses have to go down. We have to be responsive."

Hammond replied that the board will be facing some serious issues in the months ahead.

"We can't operate this facility, with as many services as we have, without showing a loss. We need more physicians in this area utilizing our hospital and our services. We tried our best by hiring two, but that didn't pan out. Otherwise, things are not going to get better. We also need additional revenue streams, such as home health, hospice, and durable medical equipment. We've developed a niche market for our swing bed unit, but what about surgery? Do we want to open up a surgical unit? Do we have the volumes to do that? I'm real iffy there. I don't want to offer a service if we aren't going to be top-notch at it. We have some serious things to look at as an organization going forward."

Hammond then presented the financial report for the hospital through May.

"Our cash position at the end of May was significantly better than it was at the end of April. Currently, the trade accounts payable is $273,793 and the accrued payables are down to $111,574. The total net operating revenue for the month of May was $843,312 and the total expenses, including the provision for bad debt and depreciation, is $996,146, leaving a net patient income of -$152,834. With other operating revenue factored in, the loss for the month of May was a total of -$117,726. Our loss for the year is -$1,225,990."

Hammond stated a bright note has been in patient volume, with the hospital seeing 16-24 patients on average per day. Hammond also noted that the hospital is on track for a sizeable reimbursement payment from Medicaid at the end of the fiscal year.

"The Medicare payable due from us to Medicare is $49,000," said Hammond. "But, for Medicaid, a receivable due us from Medicaid is $244,274. If we filed a cost report today, we would have a net receivable of $195,264. Last year, it was much the same."

Hammond then gave the board members an update on the clinic, which has been leased to Dr. Daniel P. Valach.

"Dr. Valach has moved in and officially began his lease in the clinic June 1," said Hammond. "His Physicians Assistant, Diana Riley, is over there five days a week and the office manager there has worked with Dr. Valach for some time. Dr. Valach will have a panel made for his sign out front to reflect the name of his clinic and will also have a billboard downtown."

Board member Danny Perryman inquired as to how many patients Dr. Valach currently has in the area.

"When he would hold his clinic here, the waiting room out here would be full," said Hammond. "Now, he wasn't here every day, but he would have about two dozen over the two days, and he is looking to increase that number."

Dr. Bozeman presented the Chief of Staff report to the board. Dr. Rebecca Phillips has been elected the new Chief of Staff and Dr. Griffin Arnold was elected Vice Chief of Staff, effective July 1. The staff also voted to maintain the current list of specialty/discipline medical directors, such as Dr. Summerhill for the Emergency Department, and so on.

"We're currently working the bugs out with our new ER form to monitor doctor hours in the ER," said Bozeman. "What we are looking to do is record the actual one on one time between doctors and patients. What we have now is a time in and a time out, for when the doctor starts and stops assisting a patient. Sometimes, there may be four hours of real time because of waiting for lab work and such, but only spend so much time with a certain patient. We don't get paid for when we are seeing a patient. We get paid for our stand-by time."

Perryman made a motion to present that form to the board at their July meeting for approval and the motion was passed.

Hammond then gave the board an update on the energy grant improvements being made to the facility.

"They are making very good progress on the roof and other items we obtained through the energy grant," said Hammond. "We have a new ice maker and water machine in the cafeteria, new ice maker on the floor and new dishwasher in dietary that cleans by scalding water. The lighting is being changed out with the energy compliant lighting fixtures and the air conditioners are on order."

Hammond also reported that the Fulton County Hospital Foundation has about $9,000 in the bank, and Senator Missy Irvin donated $500 to the Foundation. He also mentioned that the annual golf tournament fundraiser is scheduled for August 13 at Turkey Mountain in Horseshoe Bend.

"On Thursday, June 23, the Salem City Council unanimously voted to allow the Foundation to use the house at the Salem City Park for their thrift store, which will be a source of revenue for the Foundation and their work," said Hammond. Foundation members are currently preparing the building for use and hope to open it in early August. Donations are currently being accepted. Contact Foundation Treasurer Janie Flynn at 870-895-3207 for more information.

In a final order of business, Chairman Albert Roork stepped down from his position on the board, after serving for two years, and Jerry Estes was elected Chairman in his stead, along with Bill Pace elected Vice-Chairman and Sue Hertzog elected to continue as Secretary.

Estes presented Roork with a plaque of appreciation for his service to the hospital and to the hospital board.

"It's been a pleasure working with ya'll. I've enjoyed it. You're a good bunch of people," said Roork.

"I for one appreciate your time on here," said incoming Chair Estes. "I for one have not met a more dedicated person on this board," said Estes as he presented the plaque. "I don't think we'll ever have a leadership better than you, and we will not find anyone who has the Fulton County Hospital more in their heart than you."

At the meeting of the Fulton County Quorum Court on Monday, July 11, the Office of Emergency Management Coordinator for Fulton County, Darrell Zimmer, was named to fill the vacancy on the Hospital Board left by Roork.

With that, the board adjourned. The next meeting of the Fulton County Hospital Board of Governors will be held Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m.

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