PMH gets shot in the arm in December

Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Chief Financial Officer Melissa Kane started off the monthly board of directors meeting with some good news – December was an excellent month financially for PMH.

The hospital received a contribution of $631,884 and also received a Medicare back payment of $215,000. In addition to those bonuses, patient revenue for the hospital was $185,000 higher than in November. The payments and additional revenue combined for a whopping net income of $1.16 million for December, compared to just $10,610 the previous month. Kane said fiscal year-to-date net income for the hospital stood at nearly $957,000.

Kane reported that two dozen patients had applied for debt exoneration during the previous month.

“As far as exonerations, we had a total of 24 new applications,” she said. “I do want to mention that, out of those 24 new applications, with the Affordable Care Act that’s been put into place, there were eight of those 24 that the people are eligible for expanded Medicaid, effective January 1. That shows you how much the Affordable Care Act has really impacted the charity applications and how much we’re going to be able to collect up front now, by billing the insurance rather than going through the charity care program.”

Trauma Services Coordinator Gary Brown reported some favorable year-end statistics for the emergency department. During 2012, the emergency room attended to 3,694 patients.  The door-to-doctor time at the PMH emergency room is just over nine minutes, while the national average is 27 minutes. The arrival to departure time for admitted patients was 124 minutes in 2013, while the national average was 275 minutes.

“If you look at those numbers, our numbers are tremendous compared to other places,” Brown said. “We’re well above the national average on all of our times. Our door-to-discharge time – from the time a patient comes into the emergency room until they’re actually discharged out the door is only 112 minutes. Some places would love to have their waiting room time below 112 minutes. So, people in this county are really glad to have a facility in their area where people come in and get treated by a doctor and get what they need and get out of here in less than two hours. That’s amazing.”

A year ago, PMH attained certification as a Level IV trauma center. Brown reported a total of 185 trauma patients treated during 2013. Sixty-six percent of trauma patients were male, and sixty-one percent were under age 50. The full PMH trauma team was activated for 29 patients.

“Our trauma team is composed of laboratory, x-ray, different departments in the hospital,” Brown said. “For certain criteria that are met, we hear from incoming EMS, or when the patient gets here and they meet certain criteria, then we announce overhead that we have a trauma alert.”

Chief Operations Officer Terry Wagner reported that hospital staff had assisted community members with the Affordable Care Act.

“Our in-person assister and application counselors have been helping people with the Medicaid expansion and enrollment,” she said. “They’ve been doing some community education. They’ve actually served 35 individuals, who have come to us. Of those 35, they have educated 13 of them and they have enrolled 11 in the marketplace and eight in the Medicaid expansion. So we’re very pleased about that.”

The board considered and approved an expenditure of $325,500 to purchase capital equipment. The equipment to be purchased includes, among other items, an industrial hot water heater, colposcope, call system and three new stretchers for the emergency department.

The next PMH board of directors meeting is scheduled for February 27.


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