Hospital’s financial status ‘very positive’

Jerilyn VanDeWoestyne

May 31 marked the end of fiscal year 2009 for Hammond-Henry Hospital and hospital board members learned at their June meeting that financial performance at the hospital, especially during the last three months of the year, was very positive.

“We are very pleased to see the financial results we have, especially heading into the possibility of a major building project,” said Brad Solberg, chief executive officer at the hospital. “Our volumes have continued to be very strong. We’ve had good volume in surgery, rehab, and long-term care, and home care has been the busiest ever as well.”

Solberg said, as a whole, the hospital has been very fortunate during a difficult economy to have the results they have. Preliminary results, the board learned, indicate the best financial performance in the organization’s history.

It was reported that auditors will conduct their annual study and report directly to the board in August.

The board’s finance committee has reviewed the financial projections for the hospital's "Designed to be Patient Kind” building project. Projections show the impact of a project with construction costs of $15.5 to $16 million would not be detrimental to the financial performance of the organization. 

“Financially we’re where we’ve come in before and that is a verification of our ability to handle this type of project,” Solberg said. “We continue to watch markets in terms of financial market rates. We’re also watching health reform. So far it doesn’t look like there’s much change to the critical access hospital program.”

It was noted, with Medicare paying more than 50 percent of the  cost of the building project, and the possibility of a capital campaign to supplement the remaining costs, positive financial operations should continue. The board anticipates better cost estimates for the project by its August meeting.

The finance committee also heard that requests for proposals have gone out for bond underwriters for the building project. The projections show that debt financing appear to be favorable based upon recent market rates. Medicare would also pay its portion of these costs for the project.

“The Medicare payments will help justify why we are even thinking about this project,” Solberg said.

The Henry County Board re-appointed Bill Dale, Kathy Griffith and Steve Durian to three-year terms to the hospital board.

New officers elected for the coming year include Gary Gesme, chairman, Dr. David Nelson, vice chairman, and Susan Philhower, secretary. Bill Dale was re-elected as treasurer.

The board expressed their appreciation to Sue Gray for serving as chairman of the hospital board for the past two years. She continues to serve on the hospital board.

Board members gave their approval  to a request from the Information Technology Department for a downpayment of a data repository. It was explained this equipment will allow for integration of patient health records between various providers as the requirements for health interchanges evolve over the next few years as a part of the nation’s recent stimulus bill. The total cost of the purchase is $80,084.

Hammond-Henry Hospital  Auxiliary representative Florence Hendrickson reported the hospital’s junior volunteer program is very successful with 62 junior volunteers involved in the program.

She also reminded board members of the auxiliary’s annual ice cream social to be held July 16 in City Park.

In other business, the board:

• Learned that Beth Keim, an RN who works as a nurse education in Information Technology, was named the July U Strike a Difference recipient.

• Learned that Dr. Khumar Bobba, cardiologist, is now a member of the active medical staff. Dr. Mark Stewart, orthopedic surgeon, has also requested to be moved from courtesy to the active medical staff.