Despite financial loss for month of December, VMH maintains year-to-date profit; Assessing charges for services, budget assumptions

by Brianne Eilers

The month of December ended with a loss of $61,307 for Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) in Waukon, but year-to-date the hospital is showing a profit of $101,805, according to information shared at the hospital’s Board of Trustees meeting held January 22. VMH Administrator Mike Myers noted that one of the main reasons for the loss in December was the fact that acute patient days were down. “When acute days are down, we don’t usually have a very good month,” he noted.

Outpatient revenue was down slightly, as were Emergency Room visits. Myers also noted that at the end of December, things generally slow down for the hospital as people typically have already gotten procedures, like colonoscopies, done earlier in the year. Expenses were also kept down for the month to the tune of 2.6%. Myers noted that the closing of the Monona Clinic helps to save expenses. The number of days in Accounts Receivable is down to 64, which is quite a difference from being over 100 during the audit.

VMH continues to update its charge master, which dictates what the hospital charges for services. VMH had a consultant look over its charge master and the consultant recently made suggestions for changes. Myers noted that Andy Wagner has been meeting with various departments to get those changes in place.

“We anticipate this will also help our finances,” Myers noted of the updates to the charge master. Myers also noted that after they make the changes, he anticipates the hospital’s auditing company will put in a bid to go through it again to make sure they have everything covered.

The mental health room is close to completion at the hospital. Contractors are finishing up the flooring and getting the surveillance cameras in place. The room will be used for registration when not in use for mental health.

Myers also noted that the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) conference the hospital has been hosting for several years had to be moved to the fire station because there was such a large turn-out. He said there were many informative speakers, including a speaker with a live rattlesnake and bull snake to show the difference between them.

VMH is participating in a video being put together by Allamakee County Economic Development to showcase local businesses. The hospital has also accepted Centene Corporation as a Medicaid provider.

The hospital is also working on a budget for the next fiscal year and looking at budget assumptions for the hospital. Myers noted that they have been meeting with providers and other staff to look at things like deliveries and other patient areas. Myers explained that they have been looking at three-year averages for most volumes and noted that some areas may need to be adjusted to reflect current trends. He further noted that nationwide, inpatient stay volumes are dropping because many treatments are offered as outpatient procedures now.

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