The San Juan Health District Board welcomed a new member, Guy Denton, to represent the Blanding area, at their June 28 board meeting. Denton said, “Health care has been an important part of my life the last 15 years and I am glad to be able to be involved.“
The Board unanimously voted to continue the county trend of “revenue neutral” by adopting a tax rate lower than the certified tax rate. The previous year’s rate for the health district was .000972 and the new approved rate is .000946.
Chief Financial Officer Lyman Duncan reported that overall patient days at San Juan Hospital dropped to 94 in May, which is the lowest for the year. He also reported that for the year, 2012 has 207 more bed days as compared to last year.
Board member Gail Johnson asked what would happen if San Juan Hospital closed and Blue Mountain Hospital was the only hospital available in the county. She was told that Blue Mountain Hospital does not have the capacity to meet demand on many days of the year.
Johnson asked to track the use based at San Juan Hospital and determine how many times they would have to put up a “no vacancy” sign.
Some felt that the statistics don’t matter to those who think the hospital should close.
The Board asked if the average person knows the traffic that is seen at the hospital and what they get for their tax dollars each year. It was reported that the return for the 84511 zip code alone is $38 on the dollar, making the benefit to Blanding alone huge. However, many people don’t believe in the hospital and its value.
Duncan reported that there were 809 Emergency Room encounters through May, up 146 from the previous year. He said that the CT scanner continues to be well used and ultrasound and MRI are almost the same from the previous month.
Duncan said that operating room revenue continues to grow every month with $312,000 in May up from $303,000 the previous month and $222,000 a year ago.
Overall, income was high for May at almost $1.5 million but expenses were also high, $246,000 above budget for a total loss of $42,000 before property tax revenue.
After the property tax is added there is a small net profit just under $22,000 for the month. Duncan reported that year to date, the hospital shows $460,000 in net profit. He projects another net profit in June. Duncan is pleased with this as the hospital typically experiences losses during the summer months.
The Board approved a $9,107 bid from Lee Contracting to remodel a shower at the hospital. The remodel will allow nursing staff to wheel a gurney into the shower to bathe a patient.
Also approved is a $248,000 USDA grant to purchase digital mammography equipment. CEO Phil Lowe said when the grant application was submitted two years ago, a CIB grant provided an additional $112,000 as the hospital’s portion.
When the grant was initially turned down, the CIB grant went away. To fund the hospital portion of the project, Lowe has written grants to the Eccles and the Sorensen foundations but it will be another month before they are awarded either grant.
The board voted to accept the USDA grant and purchase the equipment rather than wait for an additional grant. They hope to receive the $112,000 in grant funding, but if they do not receive the grant, they could pay their portion of the cost in about two years.
Lowe estimates the equipment will generate about $50,000 per year and save approximately $16,500 a year in dark room expenses.