Hospital board heard good, bad

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 11, 2005

Added to the positive numbers of admissions and net revenue, Tombigbee Healthcare Authority CEO/Administrator Mike Marshall had more good news to tell the hospital board at its meeting Thursday.

In addition to being awarded the Medicaid maternity waiver HealthStart program for District 8, which Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital already had, the facility received the contract for District 7, adding Greene and Hale counties.

Marshall estimated the hospital could see some 50 percent of the 227 potential deliveries, resulting in an additional $27,000 profit.

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“All in all it’s a great thing for everyone concerned,” he told the board.

He also thanked board members A.J. McCambell and Tom Perry for making several trips to Montgomery on behalf of the hospital during the bidding process. Marshall told the board at the last meeting that the state had to rebid the HealthStart contract after violating its own bidding procedure.

Marshall also reported out-patient admissions jumped 19 percent over budget in May and 25 percent so far this fiscal year. In-patient, home health, surgery, emergency room and obstetric deliveries continue to show greater than expected numbers. At the same time, patient satisfaction rates continue to hover at the 90 percent mark.

“We’re showing great growth,” he said.

The positive numbers have helped the hospital’s contribution to reserves, now totaling $1.9 million. Marshall said the hospital must plan for future upgrades to the facility and its equipment.

Toward that he asked the board to approve purchasing computerized bedside charting for labor and delivery for $35,000. It passed unanimously.

The biggest problem facing the hospital, he said, is filling nursing spots, especially in the evening and night shifts. He said he is looking into a trial program for sick child care for hospital employees. Such a three-month trial could cost up to $40,000, but he feels it would eliminate a great deal of absenteeism when parents are needed to stay home with a sick child.

The out-patient Geri-Psych unit has two patients, with more waiting to be enrolled. The hospital will have to fight a challenge by four other hospitals to set up an in-patient program. The hearing for the Certificate of Need is July 20.

The Sleep Lab has been delayed due to circumstances beyond the control of the hospital or the contractor, but Marshall said it will definitely be ready August 1 to accept patients.

The hospital faced a hike in health and dental insurance costs of 36 percent, Marshall continued, but premiums to employees have not been increased since 2000. He is not suggesting a raise in premiums but will share the information with hospital staff.

Marshall presented a marketing survey made among 600 households in BWWMH’s service area. Most of the results were extremely positive, but he said the survey shows areas both the hospital and local physicians can improve to reach prospective clients.