Chief Financial Officer Lyman Duncan reported that in the past month, the number of hospital bed days was 204 which is the highest he has seen since he has been working with the district. The average for a month is 106.
Skilled nursing, or swing bed days made up 40 of the total number, up from ten a year ago. Skilled nursing beds are used for patients who are not able to go home after the three-day acute bed limit. It also includes hospice beds for terminal patients or people in rehabilitation for long term illness.
Duncan reports ER visits were up 30 from the same month the previous year. Ultrasound tests went up by 20. The hospital saw a slight increase in CT scans. Duncan reports that radiology had a strong month, with $236,000 in revenue. In the laboratory department, there was $206,000 in revenue, up from $164,000 one year ago.
The most significant increase, compared to a year ago, is seen in the operating room, which saw an increase from $199,000 in January, 2011 to $273,000 in January, 2012. Duncan reports that overall, the hospital shows a net income of $237,000 for the month of January.
Duncan told the board that the physicians are the strength of the district, saying, “It is an outstanding situation we are in.”
Dr Paul Reay said that the doctors seem happier than ever. “There is really a sense of cohesion and loyalty to the district. We are a team, we feel like we are a team.” Reay said. He added that the positive attitude of the employees in the system makes it a great place to work.
District CEO Phil Lowe reported on an upcoming presentation to the Community Impact Board for loan funding for a new electronic health records system.
Lowe said that during his time with the district they have sought CIB funding three times. Lowe said the proposal was submitted in February, and then there are three months where proposals are presented to the CIB before projects are funded in June.
Projects are already approved prior to the funding meeting; but the official letter of funding is not received until the funding meeting.
Lowe said this presents a problem for the proposal, as they can’t sell revenue bonds for project funding until the formal letter of funding is received. Actual funds are received around November. The current project proposal will be presented on March 1 and Lowe is optimistic that they will receive the funding.
Lowe said he will ask the CIB to suspend the rules and fund the project immediately if it is approved. According to Lowe, once the district buys the electronic records system, it takes nine to 12 months to install and begin using the program.
The district plans to pay back the CIB loan through grant funding being offered through the federal government. However, in order to receive the first of three payments under the program, they need to show meaningful use of the system by July, 2013. If the CIB suspends rules, the district may have to take money from savings in order to get the system purchased and started as soon as possible.
Board Member Burton Black expressed concern over CEO Lowe visiting the County Commission to report things that had not been brought before the District Board. Black recognizes that the commission is their benefactor but feels the governing board should receive information before taking it to the commission and he reads the information in the press. Lowe said in the future he will be more sensitive to the concern.