Variety of transitions in the ever-changing world of healthcare factor into May loss for VMH

by Brianne Eilers

The month of May ended on a dismal note financially for Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) in Waukon with a loss of $166,070 for the month, making for a loss of $163,312 year-to-date for the facility. Acute patient days were down 15.4% and surgeries were down 11.6% for the month of May, while skilled days were up 2.9% and deliveries were up 5.6%. Outpatient MRI was up 20.7% and outpatient lab was up 14.3%, with the other outpatient volume areas also seeing increases. Emergency room visits were also up 4.1%, and total expenses are within 0.1% of what was budgeted.

VMH Administrator Mike Myers noted that June has been a strong month, and that VMH has begun the process of an 11-month audit to see where VMH is at. Myers also said that after a rough start to the 2015-2016 fiscal year, VMH has managed to bounce back.

“We anticipate that we’ll be somewhere around break-even when it’s all said and done,” Myers said. “A one percent difference in our Medicare projects is a $100,000 plus swing, so we’ll know more once we do the 11-month cost report.”

The Athena Health electronic medical records (EMR) program installation is moving forward and staff is getting familiar with the program. “There have been some issues, as there are with any EMR, but they (Athena Health) have been really good about answering questions and getting some things cleared up,” Myers said. He and other staff will be heading to Boston to meet with Athena Health representatives.

The number of days in accounts receivable have gone up to 92.8, which Myers attributed to the fact that VMH is implementing the new EMR program. “The whole process to how you put bills together changes,” he explained.

In other matters, VMH is putting together its final order to upgrade the radiology equipment. The upgrade has become necessary because Microsoft 7 is no longer supported. Myers also noted that with the changes being made in medical records, VMH is using the support of Gundersen Health System for its credentialing.

Myers also touched on the impact of the Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) program. “I think it’s kind of early to tell,” he said. “We’ve had a few denials and had to change some processes.” Myers said he is still hearing that patients are not getting some of the services they need under the new MMC procedures and VMH is continuing to monitor that.

The VMH Health Care Foundation held its annual golf tournament. “It was a tremendous success,” Myers said. “It was a great day and a good turn out. We appreciate the support of everybody who not only made it happen, but participated in it.”

VMH has re-approved its Affirmative Action and harassment policies. Staff was approved from EPA (Emergency Practice Associates) for the emergency room. VMH also re-credentialed three providers.

Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores have been staying “right about where they have been,” according to Myers, who said that VMH expects to see a slight drop in those scores as the staff adjusts to using the new EMR system. “People focus on getting the information captured instead of talking to the patient,” Myers explained. “The staff has done a nice job of getting acclimated quickly to the changes.”
 

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