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