Hospi­tal Author­ity swears in trio of new mem­bers

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - By Kevin Myrick SJ Ed­i­tor

The Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter and Cedar­town-Polk County Hospi­tal Author­ity saw a trio of new mem­bers sworn in to serve in the years to come.

Todd Bussey, Sondi Vest and Dr. Neil Gor­don were sworn in dur­ing a brief cer­e­mony to kick­off board busi­ness for the open­ing meet­ing of the cal­en­dar year.

Bussey is the owner of Bussey’s Florist in Cedar­town and Rome, and Vest is the lat­est to own and op­er­ate Smith-Lock­wood Phar­macy in Rock­mart. Gor­don has served as a lo­cal physi­cian for many years as well.

The trio are the first new board mem­bers to be sworn in dur­ing the past months since new amend­ments were ap­proved al­low­ing cur­rent board mem­bers to re­tire to an Emer­i­tus sta­tus. Dr. Richard Jewell was the first to take on the new role in Novem­ber 2017.

The new mem­bers got down to work with the rest of the board over­look­ing and fi­nan­cial fig­ures for the close of 2017.

The num­ber of pa­tients for both in­pa­tient and ob­ser­va­tion con­tinue to fluc­tu­ate with the sea­son, with 68 pa­tients in De­cem­ber who were kept for treat­ment com­pared to 74 pa­tients in Novem­ber 2017.

Ad­di­tion­ally 2,447 pa­tients were treated in the Emer­gency Room, and only 6 sur­gi­cal cases were un­der­taken dur­ing the month of De­cem­ber. By com­par­i­son the month be- fore, num­bers have gone up slightly.

Hospi­tal Ad­min­is­tra­tor Matt Gor­man said the hospi­tal author­ity should ex­pect to see an uptick for Jan­uary with the spread of the flu through the com­mu­nity.

“Flu ac­tiv­ity has been high this year,” he said. “The flu vac­cine wasn’t as ef­fec­tive as the vac­cine mak­ers would have liked this year. Some­where be­tween 10 and 25 per­cent ef­fec­tive de­pend­ing what num­bers you be­lieve.”

Dur­ing this month prior to the Jan. 23 board meet­ing, Gor­man said that the av­er­age num­ber of pa­tients seen per day in the emer­gency room went up from 78 to 79 per day to 84 per day in re­cent weeks.

De­spite the in­crease in num­bers, the amount of rev­enue up through De­cem­ber 2017 and the half­way mark of the 2018 bud­get year, pa­tient rev­enues weren’t hit­ting pro­jec­tions.

The hospi­tal re­ported $55.3 mil­lion in rev­enue by the end of the cal­en­dar year, but had ex­pected more than $58 mil­lion in in­come by this point. How­ever, with ex­penses down and ad­di­tional non­op­er­at­ing rev­enue, the fa­cil­ity is still turn­ing a $3.2 mil­lion profit.

One of the rea­sons why this might be hap­pen­ing is a shift in rev­enue streams as less peo­ple are pay­ing through in­surance cov­er­age, and more are be­ing con­sid­ered in­di­gent or self­pay cus­tomers at the hospi­tal. Com­bined, that added up to just over 20 per­cent of the rev­enue, stream. In­surance was ac­tu­ally up 2 per­cent of the payer mix for cov­er­age at 22 per­cent, and med­ic­aid and medi­care was off by a per­cent­age point at just over 57 per­cent.

Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter will be us­ing do­na­tions made to off­set taxes for in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses on state fil­ings to help pay for med­i­cal equip­ment and sup­plies for the com­mu­nity.

More than $46,000 in do­na­tions were re­ceived by the hospi­tal as do­na­tions, which were made by busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als look­ing to write off some of their taxes owed to the state through the Ru­ral Hospi­tal Tax Credit pro­gram.

The state leg­is­la­ture set aside $4 mil­lion over­all for more than 40 hospi­tals as part of the pro­gram.

Gor­man said the hospi­tal was us­ing the funds to place Au­to­mated Ex­ter­nal De­fib­ril­la­tors, or AEDs, and Epi-Pens for those who are hav­ing al­ler­gic reactions and need the life­sav­ing Epinephrine in­jec­tors.

‘Flu ac­tiv­ity has been high this year. s ef­fec­tive as the vac­cine mak­ers would have liked this year. Some­where be­tween 10 and 25 per­cent ef­fec­tive de­pend­ing what num­bers you be­lieve.’ Matt Bor­man Polk Med­i­cal Cen­ter ad­min­is­tra­tor

Kevin Myrick / SJ

New hospi­tal author­ity mem­bers Todd Bussey, Dr. Neil Gor­don and Sondi Vice are sworn in prior to as­sum­ing their new du­ties.

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