By James Smith
Centralia Fireside Guard
Cost cutting is paying off at Audrain Medical Center. During their Dec. 15 board of trustees meeting, hospital CEO David Neuendorf discussed national cost cutting trends among hospitals. He quoted “national literature,” that said 98 percent of the country’s hospitals are cutting costs.
Approximately half have had to trim 10 percent or more from their 2012 operating budgets, he said. “Due to AMC’s focus on cost effectiveness over the last two years, AMC needs to reduce spending by one to three percent,” said Neuendorf. According to his office that will amount to approximately $500,000.
Neuendorf also discussed the potential for future Medicaid costs. “We want to defend the Medicaid program against any further cuts,” Neuendorf, said a change to the Medicare physician reimbursement formula might cause more cuts to hospital outpatient reimbursement.
He also quoted recent surveys that suggest senior citizens are postponing medical care visits due to financial concerns.
In other business the trustees also received a report on trustee Jo Ellen Craghead’s hospital inspection tour.
In the report she expressed concern that the second floor balcony above the hospital’s main entrance has been open since the area was built. According to draft minutes from the meeting AMC staff is examining the possibility of placing a wall so the balcony is closed to the first floor on the east and west sides to help with heating and cooling costs as well as eliminate the chance of somebody climbing over the rail and falling to the first floor.
Craghead’s report did compliment the progress made on the sterotactic imaging room, the hospital’s new addition to the mammography area. Hospital staff said the rest of the equipment for the room to arrive within the next two months and the stereotactic machine should be installed January 9. The inspection also covered the second floor south. That halls being painted a shade of green that coordinates with the shade used on the hospital’s first floor.
The renovation begins at the front elevators and goes to the 1963 addition to the west and the back stairwell on the east side.
As part of repairing the flooring, the carpet, which is currently taped in places to eliminate fall hazards, two layers of floor tile beneath the carpet, must also be removed. Corner guards will also be placed on the nursing station.
Kari Wilson, AMC’s vice-president of clinical services said the flooring work should be done sometime in January. Wilson also said all scheduled sidewalk work has been completed, including one between the emergency room entrance drive and the parking places for that department.