Hospital gets clean bill of health

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 23, 2006

In recent years, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital has made great strides in service, patient and employee satisfaction.

Thursday, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital CEO Mike Marshall came before the council to give them a report on some of the most recent improvements the hospital has made.

Marshall said the outlook was very favorable-especially in terms of patient and employee satisfaction.

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Marshall said this was a huge reason for their overall success.

“I think one of the most important components of out success over the last two years has been patient and employee satisfaction,” Marshall said as he went through the spreadsheet with the council. “If you look, in 2003 under patient satisfaction, it was at 76 percent. In two years, it has come to 92 percent. Employee satisfaction, which we did not measure in 2003, has gone from 79 percent to 90 percent. They are almost identical.”

Gloria Flowers, who has been with the hospital since May, said the hospital’s willingness to keep its employees happy has made her first few months on the job an easy transition.

“It’s been great working at the hospital because the people here are very nice,” Flowers said. “Everyone here really works as a team and the administration works very hard to make sure people are happy. It is a very good atmosphere.”

Employee and patient satisfaction are huge, but there is a third part of the equation. Combining the first two led to an increased bottom line, Marshall said.

Patient satisfaction has been obvious in the hospital’s visitation numbers. In the last two years, Marshall said, inpatient admission increased 21 percent. Outpatient visits were up 54 percent and surgeries had also increased by 56 percent.

The rising number of patients is a direct result of new services offered, he said. The hospital’s in-patient and outpatient geriatric-psychology unit is up and running along with the sleep lab. Marshall said the hospital was able to bring these services and the necessary equipment without taking on further debt.

“Most of the capital purchases we made last year, which were a little under $2.5 million, we paid cash for,” Marshall said. “We try not to go into debt on things if we can help it. In that same period of time our long term debt has dropped from $4 million to about $2.4 million, so we have been able to upgrade our facilities, keep our operating cash coming in and upgrade our facilities.”

In the future, Marshall said, they also hoped to bring an ear, nose and throat doctor and cardiologist on staff.

As for hospital revenue, Marshal said, things were constantly improving. For the last two years, Marshall said, their revenue figures have climbed higher and higher.

“For 2005, we ended up with a little over $51 million in revenue,” Marshall said. “That is a 21 percent increase over the past two years. Most of that increase came from outpatient, which is number we like to see.”

Total expenses were roughly $25.8 million, which gave them net revenue of $27.9 million. This was an increase of 36 percent over the last two years, Marshall said.

Profits have also continued to increase, Marshall said. He said recent numbers in this category have seen a drastic rise.

“I’m really proud to say our operating margin has gone up 270 percent in the last two years,” Marshall said. “We had $2.07 million in operating profits last year and we ended up with about $2.3 million, which is a 203 percent increase over the past two years.”

Marshall also addressed rumors of an emergency service expansion to South Marengo County. He said, this is something the hospital has considered and would like to offer, but no formal decision has been made.