By Tia Lynn Ivey
The Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH) officials delivered their annual report to the Morgan County Board of Commissioners, touting three years of financial gains and anticipating a prosperous future.
MMH CEO Ralph Castillo stressed the hospital’s economic impact on the local community.
“Right now, we have a $10.5 million economic impact, in the first year with the new building, that jumps up to $14.3 million.
“It’s a pretty impressive return on the investment,” said Castillo. “This is also the third year in a row we have finished the fiscal year with a six-figure bottom line. In just the last few years, we have been financially resurrected. And we see great things coming once when we get to the new place.”
According to Kyle Wilkinson, chief finance officer for MMH, reported to the BOC that MMH is finishing the 2017 fiscal year with about a $626,000 gain.” The county’s support is a big part of our success,” noted Wilkinson. Wilkinson also announced that MMH is debt-free, at least for the next month or so.
“It may be short-lived, but as of right now the hospital is completely debt free now that we paid off the bonds from 1997,” said Wilkinson.
However, the new $35 million hospital construction project will bring a new set of debt for MMH to tackle in the coming decades.
“We are getting ramped up quickly for the hospital project and new construction note sale that we hope to have completed at the end of September,” said Wilkinson.
Castillo announced that MMH will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the new hospital construction project on site on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 9:30 a.m.
Castillo stressed the vital role the county plays in keep MMMH afloat, due to indigent care.
“Every year we start with a nearly $2 million short fall due to uninsured patients,” said Castillo.
“The shortfall we have to make up every year are uninsured payments because we have to treat everyone who presents themselves to the emergency room, regardless of ability to pay,” added Wilkinson.
“It’s quite the thing we have to battle every year to keep our hospital up and running and functional,” said Castillo.
However, MMH leaders are confident that the hospital will be in good shape despite the costs of indigent care and the new hospital construction debt. According to Wilkinson, between Medicare reimbursement payments, the county’s $1 million annual stipend, the collaboration with Piedmont Regional and a new state program that provides tax deductions for donors who give funds to qualified rural hospitals, MMH will be able to come out on top each year, covering indigent care and its $1.8 million debt annual debt service payments.
“We thank you for your support,” said Castillo.