Slowed Medicare payments help push hospital into red

    After showing a slight financial advantage for the 2011 year, the Adams Health Network (AHN) started off 2012 in the opposite direction.
    At the February meeting of the AHN Board of Trustees held Wednesday night, it was revealed that during the month of January, the hospital finished with a deficit of $254,275 after having originally been projected to have had a surplus of nearly an equal amount.
    Chief Financial Officer Dane Wheeler told trustees that one item that affected the hospital's bottom line was problems experienced with a new Medicare funding program that has resulted in some Medicare payments for January not being received. He also noted there were several one-time annual payments made that enlarged the amounts paid out.
    A total of $3,228,601 in operating revenue, a monthly stipend of $31,321 from the county commissioners, and $79,354 in non-operating revenue was received by the hospital in January while expenditures came to $3,562,231. Nearly 40 percent of those expenses were for professional services, at $1,413,558.
    The drop in revenue came despite an increase in outpatients at the hospital for the first month of the year.
    AHN President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Nordwick noted that the hospital had 5,383 outpatient registrations, which was up from January of 2011's 5,227. There were also two more surgeries done (142 vs. 140), but babies born and emergency room visits were both down. The AMH maternity center delivered 19 babies last month (22 in January of 2011) and ER patient numbers dropped from 902 to 845.
    Inpatients at the hospital's Woodcrest Nursing Home soared in January with 25 admissions while only four moved in during January of 2011. That led to 385 extra patient days at Woodcrest. Overall admissions to the hospital, the Behavioral Health Center, and the Adams Extended Care Center were down slightly.
    An examination of hospital patient revenues for the past year showed income of over an extra $1 million in December 2011 as opposed to last month. In fact, December, at $8,076,787 was the second best month of the year for the hospital, behind the $8,253,168 brought in in March.
    Revenue for January was broken down by $4,847,459 in outpatient money and $2,179,964 in inpatient revenue. 50 percent of inpatient and 43 percent of outpatient revenue in January came from Medicare while 17 and 21 respectively was self-pay money.
    A breakdown of departments in January found an average of approximately 30 patients per day at the hospital. An average of 18.23 critical access inpatients were at the hospital in January with 5.84 in ECU,  5.26 in Behavioral Health, and 0.32 in swing beds.
    Areas of the hospital that showed increases in January included ultrasound of the radiology department (hikes in the past five months versus January-May in 2011), sleep studies (nearly doubled), total number of surgeries (142), and nuclear medicine studies.  Last year also found 2,256 x-ray exams done and 48,368 lab procedures.