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AMC shows operational deficit, loosing patients

Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:14 am

The Audrain Medical Center  (AMC) suffered a $1.1 million loss in operational revenue since the start of 2012.
AMC Vice President Greg Shaw presented third-quarter numbers during the center’s Thursday, October 25 regular Board of Trustees meeting. Shaw reported that less patient discharges for the year hampered revenue, but a $1.8 million reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid buffered the loss. The board hopes affiliation with another health care system will boost the center’s finances for the future.
Shaw said dismal patient-discharge numbers for the year contributed to the $1.1 million loss.
“We’re seeing 16 percent less patients,” he said. “One discharge is one patient leaving the hospital.”
Shaw said through September in 2011, AMC had received 2,086 patients, which dropped to 1,750 during the same period for 2012.
Medicare and Medicaid coffers reimbursed AMC $1.8 million in 2012 for computer system upgrades, which helped AMC’s bottom-line. With the reimbursement, Shaw said installing the new system was still a costly investment.
“Any kind of computer system is going to be really expensive,” he said.
Shaw noted 2010 patient-protection law pushed AMC to install new computer systems for quality and safety purposes.
The bottom line for AMC is still a $1.1 million gain,  which accounts for the $1.1 million loss and $1.8 million buffer of reimbursements for computer system upgrades.
Shaw added other AMC investment resource gains of about $400,000 helped the hospital’s bottom line, and AMC’s decision to pursue an affiliation with another health care system may help bolster financial woes for the hospital.
“We have a hard time recruiting doctors here,” Shaw said.
He said affiliation would help get doctors. More doctors means more services — which increases patients discharges.
Shaw added that health-care affiliation makes for a healthier purchasing contract, which procures cheaper supplies and adds to AMC’s bottom line.
Shaw said the affiliation process is still in the process but non-disclosure agreements with the interested parties prohibit him from naming specific parties.
“It’s moving along, we’re still getting proposals,” he said. “We have to see which ones make sense for us and which ones don’t.”
Action items
The board of trustees approved a resolution for the dissolution of the Audrain City-County Health Unit (ACCHU), which will be officially replaced on January 1 by the Audrain County Board of Health.
The board noted its intentions for continued cooperation with the new board of health.
Trustee inspection
Trustees Jo Ellen Craghead, Dave Neuendorf, and David Schulte inspected the AMC campus.
According to board-of-trustee meeting minutes, a generator platform was constructed on-site for $1,700, saving AMC about $2,300 in retail cost.
The minutes noted dead or dying trees on the campus.
Options for the problem included replanting trees with cheaper shrubs or other less costly plants, as well as waiting until next spring to see how many plants are actually dead.
With a rebate through Ameren Missouri helping to cover initial costs,  plans are in progress to install new LED lamps in the parking lot by 2013.
Craghead surveyed patients on new recliners at the hospital. Answers varied from the seats being too deep to being fine. A physical therapist reported that the seats may be too low for the ease-of-use of hip-replacement patients.
President’s Report
According to the minutes, Neuendorf reported Dr. Seth Sherman, a newly hired orthopedic surgeon, has started consulting patients.
He said third quarter results of inpatient satisfaction scores tallied AMC among the top 25 percent in the nation. The hospital’s cleanliness and pain management scored the highest of the six-measure test.
Neuendorf noted “The Leap Frog Group” will soon release AMC’s grade for patient safety. Without being able to provide all of the data points needed for the survey, AMC expects a score of 2.872 out of 4. Staff is working to gather all of the data for next year’s leap-frog grading with an expectation of a better score.
Trustee Discussion
Kari Wilson reported new information about the remodeling of the old nurses’ dorm has not been received.
However, Wilson said moving the sleep lab to its new location at 2 West will be completed by December 31. The rooms now have fresh paint and bathroom fixtures.