Monroe County Hospital and Clinics

Marilee Sciesinski was re-elected president of the Monroe County Hospital and Clinics Board of Trustees at last Wednesday’s first meeting of the year. Mike Spieler was re-elected vice president and Matt Foster secretary-treasurer. Those three will also serve on the Executive Committee.

Members named to the Finance Committee were Scieszinski, Spieler and Jason Summers. A hearing for the budget was set for Feb. 27, 4 p.m. This year’s budget calls for $3 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, no change from last year. The budget calls for $31.28 million in receipts and $31.8 million in expenditures. That is up substantially from last year’s $21.9 million in expenditures, but virtually all of that increase is from the construction project.

A total of $1.422 million is to be raised by taxation which goes toward paying for IPERS, FICA, the ambulance service and tort liability insurance.

Monroe County is on the low end of the mill levy for area hospitals. Mahaska County raises $2.46 million with a $2.24 per $1,000 levy with a taxable valuaton of $1.189 billion taxable valuation, the lowest rate in the area. Lucas County, with a valuation of $358.4 million, is at $3.612 and collects $1.22 million; Wayne County with a valuation of $346.1 million is at $3.63 per $1,000 and collects $1.2 million; Davis County with a taxable valuation of $377.54 million is at $3.66 per thousand and raises $1.325 million; and Monroe County Hospital has a total valuation of $483.3 million with a $3 levy raising $1.45 million.

Appanoose, Knoxville and Ottumwa hospitals are not county facilities.

The board spent considerable time discussing the continuing challenge of collecting on bad debt. Half way through the year, bad debt is around $600,000 and could wind up as much as $1.1 million. That’s a whole lot of cash flow.

The bad debt comes from patients without insurance and unable to pay, many of whom come through the emergency room, or use ambulance services. As a county facility, the hospital can’t turn away people needing emergency care in particular.

The board asked administrators to give them a break down on where bad debt is occurring to see if some strategies might be employed to reduce it.

The hospital actually has a charity plan for care, but it apparently is not well utilized.

Business is brisk

The hospital’s gross revenue for December was $3.12 million, 10.4 percent ahead of the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, revenues were $1.76 million ahead. The trend toward less in-patient business and more out-patient business continues.

“Out-patient revenue continues to run well ahead of budget and prior year but in-patient and swing-bed are way down,” said hospital CFO Larry Brown.

In terms of departmental statistics, virtually every category was either up or even with last year except cardiac rehab visits which were 60 in December compared to 140 a year ago. Year to date cardiac rehab is at 684 compared to 806 a year ago. Physical therapy, respiratory therapy, infusion therapy, radiology, CT scan, MRI and diagnostic are all significantly higher in December and YTD compared to last year. Visits to the rural health clinic stood at 1,607 in December compared to 1,504 last year and YTD was 10,369 to 9,676.

Surgery numbers continue to lag year to date because Dr. Sokol was on extended medical leave earlier in the year, but he did 33 surgeries in December compared to 29 the year before. Outpatient clinic visits were down slightly this December compared to last (326 to 339) but are 2,179 YTD compared to last year’s total of 2,153.

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