Hospital questioned about financial situation
by Alan Reed
Jun 24, 2008 | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Trigg County Fiscal Court requested the presence of members of the Trigg County Hospital Board of Directors and Hospital Administrators to attend Monday’s session to describe recent payment shortfalls and loans at the hospital.

“There’s been a lot of information floating around about the status of the hospital, and for clarification purposes, I’ve asked (Chairman) Mike Gross to answer some questions and focus on the finances of the hospital,” said County Judge/Executive Stan Humphries.

Gross said, “Board meetings may last for three or for hours and be distilled into a 90-second sound bite.” He added a pessimistic view of the future of health care, noting the closure of many hospitals. As Trigg County Hospital has been designated a critical access hospital, it is entitled to cost-based reimbursement for health care, plus one percent. He said that the hospital must see $33,000 daily in revenue to keep operating. Without a cash-on-hand safety net, the hospital was forced to borrow funds to make payment on expenditures due to an interruption in cash reimbursements from Medicare (see the related story about the hospital in this week’s edition.)

“We need to grow the facility to compete with other hospitals,” said Gross. “Patients and doctors want a good CT machine, and so would you if you were in the ER,” he said to magistrates.

Gross said that the hospital is owed a total of $3.7 million bur realistically expects to collect $1.5 million to $1.7 million. “We’ve had crises before, and we will have them again in the future. That’s why we have a line of credit. There have been three other times when I thought we were at risk to close. This is not one of them.”

Hospital CEO Alisa Coleman said that the hospital had recently made several investments, including the CT machine, remodeling for a new physician’s office and a new information technology system. She said that the new IT system was needed because of the change of Daylight Savings Time, comparing the situation to the Y2K problem. Coleman added that the new IT system allowed the hospital to bring billing in-house and eliminate a third party that had been less than diligent in collections. She said the in-house billing would save the hospital $300,000 annually.

Board Member Ben Cundiff said, “On paper, a hospital looks like a hummingbird that won’t fly, but we’ve treated three people that were clinically dead at the scene, that were revived. One since died in Nashville, but I don’t know how to put a value on that.”

Read more about this session of Fiscal Court in The Cadiz Record.
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