Home Breaking News Robotic surgery underway at HMH

Robotic surgery underway at HMH


By John R. Schirmer

News-Leader staff

Howard Memorial Hospital’s daVinci Robotics Surgery System has been kept busy since the program was launched Feb. 9, CEO Debra Wright told the hospital board last week.

Two cases were performed on the first day, with three more on Feb. 10, Wright said. By Feb. 20, eight surgeries had been performed using robotics.

Dr. Bertrand Fonji “was very complimentary of the surgery team,” according to Wright.

Wright has been in discussions with a specialty surgeon “who is also interested in performing robotics cases. He is in the process of completing his credentialing application and reviewing the draft robotics credentialing policy and the draft credentialing checklist. I really appreciate Dr. [Mark] Sutherland’s initiating the conversation with this specialist on behalf of HMH.”

Wright said she is “very proud of all the departments represented on the Robotics Task Force that made implementing this goal a reality. It took a tremendous amount of coordination and several months of planning. The implementation of robotics will ensure that HMH continues to provide general surgery using state-of-the-art technology.”

In other discussion, Wright said the Department of Human Services has notified her that HMH is eligible for the next distribution of Arkansas Rescue Plan Act hospital funding. In an earlier distribution, critical access hospitals such as HMH were not eligible to apply. 

Howard Memorial was required to participate in an independent review of its financial and operational condition as a condition of receiving any of the ARPA funding.

CEO Bill Craig submitted the required information.

A representative of the firm hired by DHS to conduct the reviews will visit HMH March 21 for an onsite review.

Craig gave the hospital’s financial report for January during the meeting. Howard Memorial had 31.7 days in accounts receivable. The target is less than 45 days.

HMH cash on hand was 119.9 days compared to the target of more than 145 days.

For January, the hospital reported a loss of about $19,000.

Collectible revenue is about $151,200 above budget, Craig said. Other operating revenue is about $11,700 above budget.

Receipts on hospital accounts receivable, excluding clinics, totaled about $1.98 million as of Jan. 31.

Operating costs for the month were $122,621 above budget. 

There was no third party RN staffing agency cost for January.

The hospital’s share of profit from LHC Home Health JV is about $30,000 short of budget, Craig said.

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