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Hospital ends another year in the red

Thursday, August 4, 2011

(Photo)
The Fulton County Hospital's Swing Bed Unit, which offers light rehab for patients, generated more than $900,000 in revenue last fiscal year, a big increase from the previous year. But it did not prevent the hospital from losing $1,319,000 in the fiscal year which ended June 31. Photo by Richard Irby
The July 25 meeting of the Fulton County Hospital Board focused on looking back at the fiscal year which ended June 31, and looking ahead to what can be expected in the new fiscal year.

CEO Joe Hammond started with the bad news, while emphasizing there were some good financial trends to report.

"The net loss for the year is $1,319,338." said Hammond.

The loss was $83,827 more than the previous year, when the total deficit was $1,255,511.

On the bright side, the hospital took in considerably more revenue than the year before.

"Our total revenue for the year was up approximately $600,000 from last year," said Hammond.

The big negative on the fiscal year was the North Arkansas Family Clinic. The remodeled clinic, with two new doctors, Dr. Madhulika Krish and Dr. Ahmad Saab, opened in August of 2010. The clinic closed after about six months, because the hospital could not afford to pay the doctors and clinic staff, while the clinic worked to build up a patient base.

"During the life of the North Arkansas Family Clinic, we had $186,940 in gross revenue (generated by seeing and treating patients)," Hammond explained.

"The total for that payroll during the time that it (the clinic) was in operation was $443,015," said Hammond. "With that gross dollar amount of $186,940...it would show a loss of $256,076."

Hammond acknowledged, however, that the clinic loss was actually much higher because the hospital probably collected only about 40 percent of the $186,940 it billed to patients and insurance companies.

Hammond pointed out that last December, the only month the hospital showed a profit, was the month Dr. Krish and Dr. Saab "were hitting their full stride and making a significant contribution to the overall operation of the hospital."

The clinic is now leased by Dr. Daniel Valach, a Mountain Home physician.

Despite the failed clinic project, Hammond and the board have discussed adding other new services to attract new patients. New services are seen as the key to bringing in badly needed revenue to the hospital.

Two bright spots on the fiscal year financial report illustrate that.

"We wanted to see better utilization in the swing bed program," said Hammond. "Last year (2009-2010), we had $689,940 in swing bed charges. This year (2010-2011), we had $907,360 (in swing bed revenue), so that's been a very effective program for us.

Last fiscal year, the hospital began an ultrasound program and it has attracted patients, generating $451,793 in gross revenue, in its first year.

At the June board meeting, Hammond suggested other new services the hospital could provide are surgery services, a home health program, hospice care and medical equipment.

The past fiscal year figures are hospital estimates. Auditors were at the hospital in late July and their official report is expected in September.

A discussion of current finances again showed the difficulties a small hospital faces, as it struggles to break even or make a profit.

June has been a strong month for emergency room and in patient services.

According to Hammond, $80,000 in new patient services has yet to be billed. $872,000 in services is awaiting diagnosis, $1,165,000 is ready to be sent out and the hospital is awaiting payment on $917,867.

"Now, the insurance is the same as cash in most instances, isn't it?" asked board member Danny Perryman, trying to clarify that, if the hospital bills $900,000, that is what it collects.

"Commercial insurance is generally 60 to 70 percent cash. Medicaid and Medicare is about, probably, 35 to 45 percent," Hammond replied. "What we get paid, there's an automatic discount built in."

"That 900 and some thousand dollars (that we're due), how many dollars is that (will be received), would you say?" asked Perryman.

"I'm going to say somewhere between $380 and $410, 000."

"Really," a surprised Perryman replied.

"We only collect 40% (of billed insurance) on average," said Hammond. "When you figure we are probably 80-81 percent Medicare in all of our business, we only get a small fraction."

The new fiscal year budget the board has approved seeks a major reduction in salaries, and hopes to cut the hospital's loss to $766,961, a half a million dollar improvement over last fiscal year.

In other business, the board approved a request to declare a list of heating and air conditioning units, kitchen appliances and other items as "surplus property."

The hospital is moving ahead with plans to renovate its inpatient wing and funds raised through the sale of surplus items will help buy paint and other needed supplies.

The board was told several hospital improvements funded by a state energy grant are almost finished. A new section of roof is installed, new energy efficient appliances are up and running in the kitchen, work to install energy saving lighting is 75 percent complete and work to replace three large heating and air conditioning units on the roof is underway.

Board president Jerry Estes obtained approval to give two of the old hvac units to the city of Salem.

"We have discussed donating those to the city, so that they could use them to put air conditioning in the Civic Center," said Estes. "It would be a good gesture on our part."

While the hospital is donating the units, the city and fair board will be responsible for moving them to the fairgrounds and paying the cost of installation at the Civic Center.

One of the Hospital Foundation's big fundraisers is quickly approaching.

The foundation will host its annual golf tournament on Saturday, August 13, at the Turkey Mountain Golf Course at Horseshoe Bend.

Teams can still sign up by contacting the pro shop at 870-670-5252. The cost is $120 for a three person team.

Sponsorships are also available at $100 per hole. Contact Trena Spears at 371-0848 for information.

All proceeds will go to support the hospital through the Hospital Foundation

The Hospital Board's next meeting will be held on August 29 at 7 p.m. Meetings are in the hospital conference room and are open to the public.


Comments
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Why is it that the big insurance gets a discount but the poor guy who cant possibly afford insurance is labled as a crook and turned over to collection agencies and their bank accounts wiped out of their rent and grocery money and left out in the cold? Why is it that you put a lein on their property after you charge outrageous amounts but wont negotiate with them? Why is it? At what point does the public get to be treated fairly? not just the public figures and the people who run the hospitals. You can cut 900,000.00 down to 400,000.00 but you will see to it the person that owes you 30,000.00 and has no insurance pays the whole amount not careing one bit for the welfare of him or his family? You need to be ran out of this country. What you are doing is stealing leagally through loopholes you have created to ruin the lives of of everyone who doesnt meet your standards. Shame on You whoever You are. We need healthcare and everyone I know is more than willing to pay a fair price for medical services but we dont need to be Robbed. Change your practices and attitude about medical services and you will then be profitable and supported by the entire community not by just your elite few.

-- Posted by Basser on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 2:28 PM

"Commercial insurance is generally 60 to 70 percent cash. Medicaid and Medicare is about, probably, 35 to 45 percent," Hammond replied. "What we get paid, there's an automatic discount built in."

"That 900 and some thousand dollars (that we're due), how many dollars is that (will be received), would you say?" asked Perryman.

"I'm going to say somewhere between $380 and $410, 000."

"Really," a surprised Perryman replied.

"We only collect 40% (of billed insurance) on average," said Hammond. "When you figure we are probably 80-81 percent Medicare in all of our business, we only get a small fraction."

-- Posted by Basser on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 2:33 PM

No wonder your in the hole, or was this planned too? Part of your non profit plan? LOL you should let someone with some sense run it if you want a profit, oh wait its not supposed to make a profit cause you couldnt get your outside support, oh got it. Thats why you must ruin peoples lives, givem good health and make sure their homeless and tell the world how you saved their life and they wont pay you. Maybe you should have gave them the same discount you gave the big insurance for not paying their bill in full.

-- Posted by Basser on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 2:43 PM

We only collect 40% (of billed insurance) on average," said Hammond

YOU SHOULD BE FIRED !

-- Posted by Basser on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 2:52 PM

CEO Joe Hammond started with the bad news, while emphasizing there were some good financial trends to report.

"The net loss for the year is $1,319,338." said Hammon

This loss could have been prevented, I have found a good portion of the losses, Want to guess where they are? Mr CEO You are as bad a manager as I have ever seen, Lets reward him for doing such a pathetic job.

-- Posted by Basser on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 2:56 PM

"During the life of the North Arkansas Family Clinic, we had $186,940 in gross revenue (generated by seeing and treating patients)," Hammond explained.

"The total for that payroll during the time that it (the clinic) was in operation was $443,015," said Hammond. "With that gross dollar amount of $186,940...it would show a loss of $256,076."

Hammond acknowledged, however, that the clinic loss was actually much higher because the hospital probably collected only about 40 percent of the $186,940 it billed to patients and insurance companies.

-- Posted by Basser on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 2:57 PM

$900,000,"What we get paid, there's an automatic discount built in."

Its so hard to not spent it faster than what it comes in.

-- Posted by Basser on Tue, Aug 9, 2011, at 2:59 PM


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