Veterans Memorial Hospital posts March profit, fares well in visits by State officials

by Brianne Eilers

The month of March ended with Veterans Memorial  Hospital (VMH) in Waukon showing a profit of $42,988. Looking at the financial statistics on a year-to-date basis, the hospital is showing a 2.3% profit margin. Skilled patient days were up 14.6%, while acute patient days were down 13.1%. Deliveries were also down 4.6 % from last year. The areas of surgeries, outpatient lab and outpatient radiology were all up over last year as well.
Physical Therapy is down, and VMH Administrator Mike Myers noted that part of that is due to preauthorization of procedures. Emergency Room (ER) visits were up 10%. Gross Patient Revenue was pretty much at the level it was budgeted for, while Inpatient Revenue was under by 11.9% and outpatient revenue was up 5.2%. Expenses tracked with the revenue.
“We’re slightly ahead of where we thought we’d be at this time,” Myers noted. The number of days in accounts receivable is down to 86.6. VMH has $2,420,000 in cash reserves.
In other matters, the hospital completed its State survey, which is done every five years. Myers noted that the visit is unannounced. Myers noted that the deficiencies found by the surveyors were minor and many of them have already been corrected. The hospital was also visited by the State Fire Marshal, and again the deficiencies were minor.
“The survey team said more than once that our patients really like it here and that we're a very friendly and outgoing group of people, and very helpful,” Myers said, adding, “I’m very proud of the fact that the deficiencies were minor and that they’ve already been completely addressed or are in the process of being addressed.”
VMH will be looking at some internal renovations, due to the expansion of the medical records department and the requirements, like preauthorization and the new ICD 10 coding, that Myers said will be coming up. “That’s going to require more detail in the coding,” Myers explained, further noting that the hospital will be remodeling the medical records department sometime this summer to make it more efficient to navigate through.
Machelle Bulman has been selected as the Director of Nursing, and the hospital will be moving some offices around. Myers noted that the "Doc-Fix" Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) for Medicare was a positive thing to see happen at the Federal legislative level, and Myers noted that he was happy to see that it won’t require cutting payment to hospitals. He also talked a little bit about the Medicaid expansion proposal by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.
“The fear there is that it will reduce payments to providers,” Myers explained, in order to save the amount of money that the governor wants to save. Myers also noted that the VMH Health Fair is coming up within the next week at the hospital, scheduled for May 13.