Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Mon, Oct. 19

Winslow Memorial running a deficit with city sales tax making the <br>difference between profit and loss<br>

The Winslow Memorial Hospital Board of Directors heard Chairman Gordon McHood report that the hospital is currently running a deficit. While steps are being taken to alleviate the problem, the 1/4 of one percent of sales tax received by the hospital makes the difference between showing a slight profit or taking a loss and possibly between keeping the facility open or not. He noted that the sales tax renewal will be voted upon in May or June of 2001 and said that it is critical to the survival of the hospital that it be maintained.

McHood appointed Bill Mead to chair a sub-committee composed of himself, Rhonda Greer and Loren Hardy to study the issue and see that board members are delivering the same message when they speak on the issue. The sub-committee members will seek to inform city officials and community service clubs of the vital need for the sales tax revenue to continue or even grow.

McHood noted that although the hospital generates approximately $10 million in revenue a year, it only makes a profit of one or two percent in good years and is losing money in the current year. He said that this is not unique as hospitals in general are having financial problems at this time.

Hardy pointed out that the hospital performs a number of valuable services for members of the community at no charge, in addition to being there when real medical needs occur. He cited the free medical screenings and blood drives that are conducted periodically and especially noted that the weight loss program directed by Tex Cavin is now offered for the price of the products only. In the past, a substantial fee was charged for participation in this award-winning program.

McHood said that receivables are in much better shape than in the recent past.

Controller Rick Sander issued a report which included statements on statistics, accounts receivable, a balance sheet, the income statement and information about the current month.

On statistics the report stated that patient admissions of 106 were on budget and 12 more than in the prior year. Patient days of 235 were 60 days under budget and 15 days less than in the prior year. Average length of stay overall was 2.22 days compared to 2.80 budgeted and 2.34 in the prior year. Average length of stay for the Medicare population was 2.87 compared to 2.80 and 3.30 per budget and prior year respectively. On a year to date basis admissions and patient days are 29% and 3% more than the prior year and 26% and 4% over budget.

Operations performed were 24 less than budget while physical therapy visits exceeded budget. Emergency room visits, outpatient visits, Laboratory tests Radiology workload units and CT Scans were under budget.

On accounts receivable the report stated that Gross Accounts Receivable decreased from the prior month by $100,000 to $3,616,000. The balances in accounts over 151 days old decreased by $63,000. Patient receipts of $664,000 decreased from the prior month and was $6l,000 less than in the same month last year. This corresponds to the overall decrease in Accounts Receivable of $1,100,000 since September 30, 1999.

On the income statement the report said that gross patient revenues of $963,000 including $42,000 from the physician clinics was less than the prior year by $119,000 or 11% and under budget by $312,000 or 24%. Operating expenses, including bad debts were $68,000 under budget and $95,000 less than the prior year. The deficit for the month of $69,000 was $74,000 greater than the budgeted excess of $5,000.

On the balance sheet the report stated that the hospital continues to enjoy extremely good liquidity with cash and short-term investments of $2 million. The current ratio (current assets / current liabilities) of 5.37:1 increased slightly from the prior month.

For the current month the report stated that July revenue projects out to be just over $1 million which is well under what was budgeted. Cash collections are projecting out to exceed collections for June.

Administrator Anita Warboys reported that an evaluation had recently been performed on the physician clinic procedures. She plans to get any recommended changes in place before Dr. Sharma and Dr. Georgi get very busy.

Dr. Basil Georgi is a newly hired surgeon who is expected to begin practice in Winslow on if not slightly before Oct. 16. Dr. Luis Coppelli will be performing surgeries at the hospital on several occasions before the new doctor is available.

Warboys also reported that she has prepared a history of the chemical dependency treatment center project for use in a request of the bondholders to use the funds obtained for that project at the physician clinic. She said that a potential buyer exists if the bondholders approve using funds for the project elsewhere.

Board Member Rhonda Greer brought up the matter of the helicopter stationed at the hospital and the controversy it had generated. Warboys said that it is here on a trial basis and was not under contract. No air evacuation service has a contract with the hospital which continues to use the quickest and most efficient service available. She said that having the medical crew that accompanies the helicopter at the emergency room has been helpful. She also noted that emergency room personnel had said over two months ago that employees of Native American Air had said the company planned to move its helicopter. She said that the hospital had alternated service between several companies in the past and continues to do so.

Warboys said that Indian Health Service has a contract with Native American Air and that they must be called when its patients are involved. The BNSF Railroad has a contract with Guardian Air and they must be called when its patients are involved. Otherwise, the fastest and most easily available transport will be used.

Present at the meeting were McHood, Greer, Mead, Hardy, Larry Pane and Joe Estudillo. Board Member Adrianne Sanchez was absent. The next meeting of the board is scheduled for Sept. 27.

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