Slower month of January results in financial loss for Veterans Memorial Hospital; New clinic currently on schedule for May opening

by Brianne Eilers

Progress on the clinic remodeling project for Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) continues to move along. VMH Administrator Michael Coyle noted that the project is “on time and on budget.”

The anticipated completion date is April 16 of this year and Coyle noted that they are hoping to start seeing patients in the clinic around the first part of May. Susan McMillan, NP and Halie Ruff, NP will be the practitioners at the clinic.

Coyle is also anticipating that they can begin booking appointments sometime in April. He noted that the hospital will be getting more information to the public sometime in the beginning of April.

In financial matters, January ended up being a slower month at the hospital. “We found that January was one of our slowest months in the last six or seven months,” Coyle noted. There was a slight decrease by “just a couple percent” in the areas of inpatient, Emergency Room (ER) and Urgent Care and observation and surgeries. However, there was an increase in swing bed patients, which helped make up for some of the decrease in other areas.

There was also a decrease in contractual bill payments and charity allowances. Supply costs have continued to increase, due to COVID-19, which affected areas like surgery, protective equipment and homecare. “We’re not sure when costs will return to normal,” Coyle said.

For the month of January, the hospital showed a loss of approximately $99,000. Coyle did note that February was busier and VMH is on budget for February.

Looking at yearly numbers, VMH is showing a positive net income of $1,702,000, compared to this time last year when the hospital had a loss of $3,024,774. “We have to be cautious because the reason for this net income is that we were able to receive our paycheck protection monies,” Coyle noted. He added that if those funds were taken out of the equation, the hospital would be at a “break even” point for the year.

Coyle also reported that they are starting to see people returning their Capital Campaign pledges for the clinic donations. They have seen about $200,000-$210,000 in funds. He noted that among those funds is a $100,000 donation from the Veterans Memorial Healthcare Foundation, but the returns have just started coming in. The donations will decrease the costs of opening up the new clinic and the campaign goal is around $600,000 in total for pledges and gifts.

“We’d like to give a big shout out to everyone helping with that campaign,” Coyle said. “We also get a lot of small donations and those are just as important as the large donations. Every penny counts.”

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