By John R. Schirmer
Howard Memorial Hospital has paid off the long-term debt on the medical office building which houses Dr. Brian Caldwell’s practice on the HMH campus, according to CFO Bill Craig. The cost was $1,159,394.
Craig told the HMH board of directors last week that the hospital’s days of cash on hand dropped 31 days at the end of October compared to the close of business Sept. 30 because of paying off the building.
October is the first month of the hospital’s new fiscal year.
Howard Memorial still has 183.9 days cash on hand. The target is to have more than 14d days, Craig said. HMH had $13,311,413 in the bank at the end of October, according to Craig.
The hospital has 30.4 days revenue in accounts receivable compared to the target of less than 45 days.
For October, HMH showed a profit of $18,526 during October. That’s below the budgeted profit of about $85,000. “Although the hospital’s bottom line fell short of budget, HMH did generate a profit in the first month of the new fiscal year,” Craig said.
For October, the average daily census was 6.1 patients, down slightly from the budgeted ADC of 6.6 patients.
Outpatient visits were 3.8 percent above budget at 2,662.
There were 876 emergency department visits for the month, one above budget.
Surgery cases were six above budget.
Howard Memorial received $139,429 in stimulus monies during October, according to Craig.
CEO Debra Wright made her monthly report to the board.
No HMH employees were out for Covid-19 as of Nov. 16, she said, and there have been “hardly any hospitalizations for Covid this month.”
The hospital has administered 38 infusions of monoclonal antibody therapy thus far in November.
HMH has given 304 Covid-19 tests for the month. Wright said 259 were negative and 45 were positive.
Harvey Sheet Metal has ordered the equipment and supplies for the conversion of more patient rooms to negative pressure. “Assuming these are not on backorder, the timeline for installation is the first two weeks in December,” Wright said.
The air pressure portion of the project “requires a much longer timeline for installation. The coil takes nine weeks to build, and the new condensing unit requires 28 weeks to build. HMH will have six compressors instead of four upon completion. This project should be finished before the warm weather season begins,” Wright said.
“Until completion, it is very important that the negative pressure is turned off in these rooms when not being used. Both Maintenance and IC check the pressures and document it on their rounding forms. Once this project is completed, both wings of the patient care unit may be utilized for Covid-19 patient admissions,” according to Wright.
Hospitals must comply with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services vaccination mandate, Wright said. Phase One deadline is Dec. 6, with Phase Two by Jan. 4. At HMH, either an exemption form must be submitted and approved by Dec. 6, or proof of the vaccination received wither with a single dose or the first dose of a multi-dose vaccine, Wright told the board.
“This mandate, by far, has been one of the most controversial challenges facing hospital and health care workers,” Wright said.
Dr. Bertrand Fonji is available to cover general surgery call at HMH, according to Wright. Dr. John Hearnsberger will assist with revisions to the call schedule so that Dr. Fonji may begin covering shifts before the initial start date of Jan. 1.
“I am very excited to have him join the HMH surgery team,” Wright said. “I greatly appreciate Dr. Hearnsberger’s willingness to work many additional shifts since Dr. [Luis] Barandiaran’s retirement.”
The search for a chief nursing officer continues, according to Wright. A candidate for the position has declined the job offer.
Wright thanked the HMH Auxiliary for a donation that covered the costs of one fully equipped Dynamap monitor for PCU. “I appreciate their generosity.”
HMH employees donated bags of Halloween candy and assisted with the distribution in Nashville, Mineral Springs, Lockesburg and Dierks. “Thank you to all who purchased candy and/or distributed it on behalf of HMH,” Wright said.
Wright reminded the board that Bill Craig was named Hospital CFO of the Year by Arkansas Business. “Congratulations on such a great honor.”
Craig’s selection was featured earlier this month in the News-Leader.