Hospital passes optimistic budget, discusses reaching voters for proposed bond election

by Daniel Moore

Press Staff Writer

Power County Hospital should be seeing higher profits next year, reported Jeremy Claunch, the hospital’s chief financial officer. He spoke to the hospital board during the hospital’s budget hearing on Monday, Aug. 22.

The hospital expects about $60,000 in extra funds over the next year. As a taxing district, any profits are invested back into the hospital.

The 2017 budget predicts profits for the hospital after a loss of about $120,000 in 2016. The extra money is from a concerted effort to track down payments and to make sure everything is charged correctly, Claunch said in the meeting.

The hospital’s new doctor, Garrett Seibold, who started in 2014, has also heightened awareness of the hospital, he said.

The budget also includes a 3 percent hike on the portion the hospital receives from taxes, which is the allowable limit.

Staff changes also caused lower profits this year, though they expect the hospital to rebound now that a full staff is in place and as it heads into the busier fall season, Claunch said.

The hospital is holding a great deal of cash, Claunch also reported, although some of that is going back to Medicaid and Medicare as the government agencies adjust the rates it pays hospitals, often lower than hospital’s charge, and wants the difference back. It is a common healthcare accounting practice, he said. However, the hospital does have enough cash on hand to meet its obligations, he said.

“It’s really good to see positive numbers, because it was tight for a while,” said Brian Adair, chairman of the hospital board….

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