Published On: Tue, Nov 26th, 2013

PMH finishes year with slight deficit

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Members of the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital board learn about a new, improved hospital bed from Andy Aitken, area sales manager at Linet Americas, the bed manufacturer. The hospital is considering the purchase of 24 of the new beds at a cost of about $164,000. In the photo, left to right, board member Don McNeel, board member Janet Ghigo, Linda Tracey, Aitken and board member Amon Tracey.

Members of the Pocahontas Memorial Hospital board learn about a new, improved hospital bed from Andy Aitken, area sales manager at Linet Americas, the bed manufacturer. The hospital is considering the purchase of 24 of the new beds at a cost of about $164,000. In the photo, left to right, board member Don McNeel, board member Janet Ghigo, Linda Tracey, Aitken and board member Amon Tracey.

In a remarkable turnaround, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH) turned huge budget deficits into its first surplus in years in 2012, when it made a profit of more than $38,000. Although slightly in the red for fiscal year 2013, the hospital’s finances still look good, due to a number of considerations.

Both the 2012 profit and the 2013 deficit are relatively tiny compared to the hospital’s operating budget of nearly $10 million. By the measure of the last two years, the county-owned hospital is maintaining a steady keel financially.

During the PMH board meeting on November 21, Marie Castro, with accounting firm Arnett Foster Toothman, presented the results of the hospital’s annual financial audit. The accountant reported there were no major, reportable conditions uncovered during the examination of the hospital’s finances.

“We didn’t have any disagreements with management,” she said. “We had a good audit. We had audit adjustments, which I will go through, but we didn’t have any significant or any crazy transactions this year – anything out of the ordinary that would be reported in here.”

The accountant noted one significant deficiency in accounts receivable reserve calculations. Hospital staff said they are aware of the problem and working to fix it.

Castro noted that the hospital invested $341,000 in electronic health records in 2013, an investment that will be reimbursed by the federal government – but not until December. Even without that payback, the hospital lost less than $30,000 for fiscal year 2013.

The board unanimously approved the audit report, with board member David Fleming participating via teleconference.

Chief Financial Officer Melissa Kane reported a loss for the month of October of nearly $18,726. Four months into the current fiscal year, the hospital has a total budget deficit of $216,242.

Cash received from the hospital’s collection agency reduced from $6,359 in September to $2,142 in October. Kane said she contacted the agency to determine the reason for the reduction.

“They are looking into why that was lower, because we had sent a significant amount of claims over to them,” she said. “They are looking into why that is lower and we’re trying to keep on top of them, so that we don’t go through the experience we had with the previous collection agency.”

Chief Executive Officer Barbara Lay reported that hospital staff helped out during the recent major fire in downtown Marlinton.

“Our staff really came through and helped above and beyond,” she said. “Dietary came right in and started helping prepare food and coffee, as long as it was needed. Some of our staff were here extra, who were firefighters, maybe from other counties – went right down and jumped right in and started working. Everybody pitched in as they could. It shows how wonderful it is to live in a small community, where people care about each other.”

In other business, the hospital board approved the purchase of a 2.86 acre parcel of land, near the hospital, at a cost of $35,000.

Following the meeting, Andy Aitken, representing hospital bed manufacturer Linet Americas, demonstrated a new hospital bed, that Aitken said is much more comfortable and safer for patients. The PMH board is considering the purchase of more than two dozen of the new beds, at a cost exceeding $150,000. The representative said he could help facilitate a sale of the older beds to help defray the purchase cost.

Aitken said the hospital’s oldest beds create a liability risk for the hospital.

“Some of your beds, not this bed, but the brown beds that you see, that’s a 25 year old bed, and they were great beds when they were purchased,” he said. “But the safety protocols for hospitals have changed. That bed is so far out of compliance with everything that you’re starting to look at a risk factor for the hospital.”

The next meeting of the PMH board is scheduled for December 19 at 6 p.m.

 

 

In a remarkable turnaround, Pocahontas Memorial Hospital (PMH) turned huge budget deficits into its first surplus in years in 2012, when it made a profit of more than $38,000. Although slightly in the red for fiscal year 2013, the hospital’s finances still look good, due to a number of considerations.

 

Both the 2012 profit and the 2013 deficit are relatively tiny compared to the hospital’s operating budget of nearly $10 million. By the measure of the last two years, the county-owned hospital is maintaining a steady keel financially.

 

During the PMH board meeting on November 21, Marie Castro, with accounting firm Arnett Foster Toothman, presented the results of the hospital’s annual financial audit. The accountant reported there were no major, reportable conditions uncovered during the examination of the hospital’s finances.

 

“We didn’t have any disagreements with management,” she said. “We had a good audit. We had audit adjustments, which I will go through, but we didn’t have any significant or any crazy transactions this year – anything out of the ordinary that would be reported in here.”

 

The accountant noted one significant deficiency in accounts receivable reserve calculations. Hospital staff said they are aware of the problem and working to fix it.

 

Castro noted that the hospital invested $341,000 in electronic health records in 2013, an investment that will be reimbursed by the federal government – but not until December. Even without that payback, the hospital lost less than $30,000 for fiscal year 2013.

 

The board unanimously approved the audit report, with board member David Fleming participating via teleconference.

 

Chief Financial Officer Melissa Kane reported a loss for the month of October of nearly $18,726. Four months into the current fiscal year, the hospital has a total budget deficit of $216,242.

 

Cash received from the hospital’s collection agency reduced from $6,359 in September to $2,142 in October. Kane said she contacted the agency to determine the reason for the reduction.

 

“They are looking into why that was lower, because we had sent a significant amount of claims over to them,” she said. “They are looking into why that is lower and we’re trying to keep on top of them, so that we don’t go through the experience we had with the previous collection agency.”

 

Chief Executive Officer Barbara Lay reported that hospital staff helped out during the recent major fire in downtown Marlinton.

 

“Our staff really came through and helped above and beyond,” she said. “Dietary came right in and started helping prepare food and coffee, as long as it was needed. Some of our staff were here extra, who were firefighters, maybe from other counties – went right down and jumped right in and started working. Everybody pitched in as they could. It shows how wonderful it is to live in a small community, where people care about each other.”

In other business, the hospital board approved the purchase of a 2.86 acre parcel of land, near the hospital, at a cost of $35,000.

 

Following the meeting, Andy Aitken, representing hospital bed manufacturer Linet Americas, demonstrated a new hospital bed, that Aitken said is much more comfortable and safer for patients. The PMH board is considering the purchase of more than two dozen of the new beds, at a cost exceeding $150,000. The representative said he could help facilitate a sale of the older beds to help defray the purchase cost.

 

Aitken said the hospital’s oldest beds create a liability risk for the hospital.

 

“Some of your beds, not this bed, but the brown beds that you see, that’s a 25 year old bed, and they were great beds when they were purchased,” he said. “But the safety protocols for hospitals have changed. That bed is so far out of compliance with everything that you’re starting to look at a risk factor for the hospital.”

 

The next meeting of the PMH board is scheduled for December 19 at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

- Geoff Hamill can be contacted at gshamill@pocahontastimes.com