Morgan Memorial Hospital is still in the black
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
As it happens, maybe they can keep it up forever.
Last month’s downturn in the hospital’s financial picture—the first in nearly a year—was, it turns out, an error.
When monies related to employee benefits were mistakenly attributed to the wrong account, it made the hospital look as though it had taken a loss for the month. But when the error was identified and rectified, the hospital was still turning a profit.
“We’re back on our positive track for net income,” said financial director Darlena Kinnett. “Year to date, we have a positive net income of $41,000 without the county subsidy—so that’s a pretty good accomplishment for month five of the fiscal year,” she said.
The monthly patient census for November was slightly below average, with fewer emergency room visits and outpatient treatment for the month. But acute care days were up.
In addition, the hospital’s in-house collections management—the changeover to which resulted in a cash-flow decrease that was the hospital’s only issue for its 2008 audit—has now exceeded goals and projections for 7 out of the 8 months for which it has been in operation. The hospital has regularly been exceeding a goal of $950,000 per month in collections.
“In the current economy, that is really outstanding,” said Kinnett.
The hospital staff is growing, as well, with a new Director of Quality Improvement, Lou Semrad, on board and a new Emergency Room Manager expected in the near future.
“We are continuing to evaluate our organizational structure…and trying to question everything,” said hospital Interim CEO Brandon Jolley.
In another move that will be readily apparent to everyone who visits or telephones the hospital, the function of the hospital switchboard may soon be removed from the admissions desk.
“I think that will help [improve] patient satisfaction, and it will also help the business side of the hospital,” said Jolley.
“When someone in admissions stops taking patient information to answer the phone, we’re telling that patient ‘You’re not the most important thing to us,’” said Jolley. “That’s not the message we want to send.”
Published in the January 15 edition.