2008-12-11 / Front Page

Medical Center Books Show Mixed Results

Profit for operating income, loss for net income
By Jean Snyder STAFF WRITER

Fulton County Medical Center held a state-of-the-company meeting on Monday evening and although the news was not entirely good, it was not as bad as had been predicted.

According to the report, the center finished the 2007-08 year with an operating income of $305,000, but had a net loss of $327,000. Figures that, according to Shana Wolfe, chief financial officer, were "actually $1 million better than the amount projected by consultants when the bonds for the new hospital were issued in 2006."

The center showed operating expenses of $28 million with operating revenues of $28.3 million, resulting in an operating profit of $300,000. Nonoperating revenue, however, showed a loss of $632,000, resulting in the net loss of $327,000. It is the first time in seven years that the hospital has shown a net loss.

In explaining the loss, Wolfe said, "Due to changes in accounting rules for pensions, and the sale of the old hospital and nearby houses, FCMC reported a total loss of $327,000." Wolfe went on to say, however, that "the Medical Center has met or exceeded all its bond covenants."

During her presentation, Wolfe said, "The reimbursement realities in healthcare are that very few payers cover the full cost of providing services. As a Critical Access Hospital, FCMC is entitled to reimbursement for its cost for caring for Medicare patients. While 22 states offer costbased reimbursement to Critical Access Hospitals for Medical Assistance (Medicaid) patients, Pennsylvania has not enacted a similar ongoing system. Other payers request various discounts from charges. Many patients who are uninsured cannot pay much, if anything, for their healthcare services. The result is that healthcare providers operate on a very thin margin to be reinvested into facilities and equipment."

Wolfe added that the financial goals for FCMC for the future include: responsible stewardship of the new facility; stability of operational results in a difficult economy; prudent spending on necessary expenses to continue meeting the healthcare needs of our community; maintaining requirements of bond issue; preserving resources to allow FCMC to meet the needs of those unable to pay; and obtaining capital to construct patient services building.

Patient and services volumes did not vary much from the previous year. The patient census for 2007-2008 was up slightly with 850 admissions, up from 811 admissions last year. The number of acute-care patient days was down very slightly, 2,926 days compared to 2,972 days in the previous year. The number of swing-bed days was up slightly, 1,355 from 1,327 in 2006-07.

The number of long-termcare days was up significantly due to the increase in beds at the new facility. There were 22,526 patient days in 2007-08 compared with 20,037 during the previous year. Wolfe mentioned that the nursing home continues to "experience nearly 100 percent occupancy." Emergency room visits also increased slightly to 10,389 from 10,068 visits last year. The center had 10,167 visits to specialty clinics in 2007-08, down from 10,338 in the previous year, while both numbers of radiology and laboratory procedures were up this year over previous years, radiology up to 19,587 from 19,052 and lab procedures 114,771 up from 104,386 last year. Outpatient visits totaled 34,953, up from 33,140 in the previous year.

Medicare continued to provide the most payment for services at 42 percent, while Blue Cross/Highmark provided 26 percent, Medical Assistance about 15 percent, other insurance and direct pay about 16 percent, and 1 percent was free care.

Jason Hawkins, president and CEO, discussed the center's accomplishments for the year and set forth goals for 2009. He talked about the transition to the new facility and specialty physician recruitment.

Hawkins spoke of the longrange site plans, campus consolidation, a health needs assessment, working to increase customer satisfaction and education and program expansion. He concluded by saying, "We are ensuring our financial sustainability and improving our community's health and wellness with the formation of the FCMC Foundation and the establishment of an en- dowment. This foundation's main purpose is to support the improvement of the health and wellness of Fulton County and the surrounding areas."

The FCMC Foundation is close to kicking off a fundraising campaign for the planned patient services/administration building to be attached to the current new facility. Groundbreaking is projected for the spring of 2009 for occupancy in the spring of 2010.

Also, during the meeting, the Fulton County Conservation District showed a display and spoke about the environmental footprint of the new facility.

Board Chairman Lynn Palmer announced the new board members for three-year terms, including Tim McGarvey, Larry Palmer, Nancy Younker, Tammy Bard and Denny Buterbaugh. He also acknowledged two retiring board members, Wendy Melius and Brent Layton. Layton's term will be fulfilled by Tonya House through 2009. Layton retired earlier this year.

Tim Hann and Vince Joyce were elected to serve as community members on the center's nominating committee. They will provide community input on the selection of new FCMC board members.

Board officers for the year include Lynn Palmer, president; William Dovey Jr., vice-president; Larry Palmer, treasurer; and Nancy Younker, secretary.

Monday evening's annual meeting was held in the Koontz Family Main Lobby at Fulton County Medical Center.

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