Hospital financial position improves in first year after LTC closing

But property, sales tax make difference in break-even year

Belleville Telescope

A choice nobody wanted to make a year ago is starting to pay off in terms of the financial position of Republic County Hospital.

JH Seitz, regional vice president of the Great Plains Health Alliance which manages the hospital, told the board Monday, October 22 that year end financials showed a $1 million difference over the previous fiscal year.

“That’s because of the closure of the Long Term Care unit,” he said. “You’re better off now compared to a year ago.”

The hospital still experienced a $1 million loss from operations in FY2018, but that is almost entirely covered by the property tax and sales tax revenues the hospital receives from the county.

Sales tax revenues from a one-cent retail tax collected for the hospital this year totaled $566,000. Property tax revenue was $420,000.

“This shows how important property tax and sales tax–that revenue stream–is to the hospital,” said Seitz.

“This county’s citizens have been very, very good to the medical profession here,” commented Republic County Commissioner Edwin Splichal, who attended the meeting.

Although Long Term Care was ended as a department of the hospital, the hospital still cares for nine residents in an Intermediate Swing Bed unit. Those beds are included in the total 25-bed limit under the Critical Access funding for Medicare reimbursement.

The hospital averages about eight inpatients a day, and 75 percent of the services provided by the hospital in FY2018 were to Medicare-eligible patients.

Sixteen percent of patients were covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield or other private insurance; and four percent by Medicaid.

Only four percent of patients had no medical coverage. Other selected statistics:

  • Fifty-two babies were delivered •438 outpatient and 89 inpatient surgeries were performed.
  • The emergency room was accessed nearly 2,000 times during the year.
  • Nutrition services served 36,206 meals, and nutrition therapy was provided to 246 outpatients and inpatients.
  • Through August 2018 the laboratory performed 34,219 individual chemistry and therapeutic drug monitoring tests, and 15,887 individual hematology tests; and collected 3,697 blood specimens. Hospital administrator David-Paul Cavazos said the lab, which is directed by Shawna Bowers, recently underwent a detailed state inspection and no deficiencies were found.
  • The radiology department provided over 3,600 studies.

In other business Monday, board member Dr. Cayle Goertzen said he will resign from the board effective October 31. The vacancy will be filled by appointment by Republic County Commissioners.

Dr. Goertzen will continue to see patients until December 31. At that time the records of his patients will be transferred to Republic County Hospital, and patients who want their records moved to other practices can contact the hospital.

Lori Rhine, ARNP will continue to serve patients in Republic County through the Belleville Medical Clinic. She joined that practice October 1.

Hospital board chairman Deb Hadachek said that the NCK Health Care Foundation continue to make contacts with potential family practice physicians to locate in Republic County. The Foundation has several potential candidates who will finish residency programs in 2019 and 2020, and has hired a recruitment firm to market the opportunity on a state and national basis to physicians already in practice.

The hospital will host a Health Fair on Thursday, November 8 in conjunction with the NCK Health Care Foundation Radiothon on KR92 radio in Belleville. Funds raised go towards physician recruitment.