Veterans Memorial Hospital experiences all-time high in gross patient revenue; Hospital-based medicine program, extended Waukon Clinic hours among new year changes

by Brianne Grimstad

The new year will be bringing in a few changes to Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) in Waukon. As of January 1, 2024, VMH is utilizing a hospital-based medicine program in its care of patients. The hospital-based providers will work closely with the patient’s primary care provider (PCP) to make sure that patients receive appropriate care and have the best hospital experience possible.

“For example, for a Gundersen patient who normally sees a Gundersen provider, if you are admitted to Veterans Memorial Hospital, our VMH provider will communicate routinely with your PCP to make sure you are getting the best care possible,” VMH Administrator Michael Coyle explained.

He further noted that VMH will continue to offer patient-centered care to all of its patients. Raquel Ristau, PA-C and Chelsey Sherburne, NP will be hospital-based medicine providers, along with Dr. Tom McMullan and Dr. Dave Schwartz.

The VMH Clinic in Waukon will also see some changes, including in its hours of operation. As of January 8, the clinic is now open until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday each week. The new clinic hours are Monday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-in patients will be accepted from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday - no appointment necessary - for acute, non-emergent care of things like coughs/colds, fevers, pink eye, rashes, minor burns or cuts, etc.

Family Nurse Practitioner Minji Na joined the staff of the VMH Clinics January 8. She will be working two days a week at the Postville Clinic and two days a week at the Waukon clinic. “She brings a wealth of new experience and new vigor to our program,” Coyle said.

During the monthly VMH Board of Trustees meeting held December 28, the board learned that November 2023 was the busiest month ever on record for VMH. Gross patient revenue for the month came in at $4,850,205.

“This was an all-time high,” noted Coyle. “We were close to $5 million, and we have never done $5 million before.”

Pretty much all areas of service were up, but after factoring in Charity Care/Bad Debt and a few other things, the total operating revenue ended up at $2,169,683. Coyle noted that compared to the same time frame in 2022, they are still up $208,000 over November 2022. Total expenses for November came in at $2,108,959. The month ended with a net income of $149,917.

This has also been the fourth month in a row the hospital has shown a positive margin, which Coyle credits to keeping expenses under control. He explained that VMH belongs to a purchasing group, and requiring supplies to be purchased through the group is helping to save the hospital money.
Year-to-date, VMH is looking at a positive bottom line of $237,507. Coyle noted that comparing to the same time last year, there is nearly an $820,000 positive impact compared to last year.

Looking at a few statistics comparing November 2023 to October 2023, there were 101 EKGs performed in November compared to 93 in October. There were 260 CT scans done in November, compared to 229 in October. All departments had a strong month, but Coyle noted that Physical Therapy continues to be a draw for the hospital.

“We have people driving over 100 miles to come for our Occupational Therapy (return to work) services,” Coyle said. “That’s almost unheard of for a CAH (Critical Access Hospital) like us. Companies are choosing VMH to ensure their staff can return to work.”

As noted earlier, nearly all service areas were up in November and the VMH Postville and Waukon clinics saw a 10% increase in patient volume. Coyle explained that the clinic schedules have been full.

“People are choosing VMH over other area facilities,” Coyle said. “And we are excited that they are.”