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WMC budget not rosy, getting better


One of the most discussed items on the agenda of the Nov. 28 Wrangell Medical Board of Directors involved money – and how the hospital is faring financially headed toward 2013.

A report from WMC Chief Financial Officer Garth Hamblin stated that the hospital is operating at a loss from the previous year due mostly to a $520,788.58 payment made to former administrator Noel Rea after his firing in June – and that the numbers in the most current audit of the hospital are slightly deceptive.

“Total assets, as you look at the balance sheet and other issues, increased by over $2 million,” Hamblin said. “That’s in the category of property, plant and equipment. Mostly, it is construction, so if you look at the report there is $4 million-plus that has already been expended on the project. A lot of that is the design. The report shows a net loss for 2012 (and) the financial statement includes a note, and an item that is highlighted, that is over $500,000 in disputed payments to the former CEO.”

The report presented to the board also shows a total of 388 emergency room visits, four operating room procedures, 777 radiology studies, and 7,672 lab tests completed during the 2012 fiscal year ending in October.

After the meeting concluded, Hamblin tried to paint as clear a picture of the current financial status of the hospital as he could.

“During the first three months of the fiscal year we lost money,” Hamblin said. “October was a pretty strong month, though. Cash collections were good, the cash balance is good and there was net income in excess of budget. It was a rough start for the year, but it’s improving.”

Hamblin also explained what the medical center’s payout to Rea and a possible return of settlement money might mean for the balance sheet in 2013.

“At the end of fiscal year 2012 the hospital paid out roughly $500,000 to the former CEO,” Hamblin explained. “Because of that, the auditors had us recognize that amount as an expense in our fiscal year results. Depending on the outcome of any settlement and where that cash goes, there would be something added positive to our bottom line. At this point they have us recognizing the half-million as an expense for the payout.”

In a related question during public comment, Wrangellite Bob Maxand asked for a complete ledger of WMC legal expenses from 2006, up through November of this year. After he made his statement as a verbal Freedom of Information Act request, board president Woody Wilson asked him to put it in writing.


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