Veterans Memorial Hospital anticipates change to electronic medical records in early July; May results in positive financial month

by Brianne Eilers

Veterans  Memorial Hospital (VMH) in Waukon ended the month of May on a positive financial note. VMH Administrator Mike Myers noted that May was a “pretty good month,” with the hospital showing a net income of $57,512, despite the number of acute and skilled patient days being the same as or lower than last year. Deliveries, however, were up 14% over last May.
“We also managed our total expenses very well, and have done so all year,” Myers pointed out, further adding that May 2014 expenses were 2.4% under last May’s expenses, despite rising costs. Year-to-date, VMH is showing a net income of $311,443, which is about a 2.2% profit margin. The hospital also has nearly $2.7 million in cash reserves.
The number of days in Accounts Receivable is up to 85.6, which Myers attributed to staff focusing on the hospital’s transition to electronic medical records and changes in some of the processes used. July 1 is the anticipated date for the electronic medical records to go live. “We’ve got great people working on this,” Myers said, adding that there are daily meetings and training sessions.
The hospital has also recently completed auditing on its 11-month cost report, which has to do with Medicare payment, and Myers reported that the auditors felt VMH was in line with where the facility should be. “Our motto here at the hospital is sustainability,” Myers said. “The auditors think that is a good motto.”
In other matters, the Veterans Memorial Health Care Foundation’s annual golf tournament was well attended. VMH is always looking at ways to improve care and customer service, and Myers said that the hospital will be focusing on privacy. “We feel that’s a very important thing, and we want to safeguard that,” Myers noted, adding, “it never hurts to have reminders.”
VMH will be looking at what other facilities are doing to help educate their staff, and later in the year, VMH will be doing some educational things and possibly even putting up signage as reminders and also checking with patients to see how the hospital is progressing in that regard.
New in the OB (obstetrics) department is the option for laboring mothers to use nitrous oxide as a means for pain relief. Myers noted that the physicians have been credentialed and that it has been used already. Myers also noted that VMH may be one of the only hospitals in Iowa currently using nitrous oxide for pain relief during labor.
On the Capital Budget front, VMH is still putting the budget together to present to its Board of Trustees at its meeting in July. Myers noted that $300,000 has been budgeted. A project to replace the air exchange system at the hospital is slated to begin sometime in September.