Wrangell Sentinel -


WMC in good shape despite $184K loss


Greg Knight

Nearly 600 locals attended the 2013 Wrangell Medical Center Health Fair at the James and Elsie Nolan Center earlier this month.

February wasn’t exactly the best month financially Wrangell Medical Center has seen, with the hospital showing a net loss of $184,124.

According to WMC Chief Financial Officer Garth Hamblin, even though the hospital came in under budget for capital outlays, a downturn in revenue was to blame for the deficit.

“For the month of February, total revenue charges was significantly under budget,” Hamblin wrote in his report to the WMC Board of Trustees during the group’s April 17 meeting.

“Net revenue was nearly $270,000 below budget,” Hamblin added. “Total expenses were 10 percent under budget, but not enough to cover the significant shortfall in net revenue.”

A graph provided by Hamblin shows that WMC’s net patient revenue hit a one-year high in mid-December when earnings approached $1.2 million. During the same time period, the hospital’s total operating expenses came in at just more than $800,000. Hamblin’s documentation also shows that the hospital held approximately $1.4 million in cash-on-hand at the beginning of February.

Hamblin added that the December spike resulted from an adjustment in the hospital’s finances.

“In December 2012 we had a reduction in contractual adjustments by $500,000 for a preliminary settlement of our fiscal year 2012 Medicare cost report,” Hamblin stated in an email. “This was recorded in one month but was for the full year 2012 report. If that amount is taken out of the net revenue numbers, December 2012 comes in at the average for the last 12 months or so.”

WMC’s interim CEO, Marla Sanger, added that she believes it’s important to not look at the spikes or dips of individual months, but rather to look at the finances of the hospital over time.

“Because there are a lot of different things that can influence the income and expenses of an organization, and there are a lot of variables in how busy a hospital can be depending on how many patients there are and how long they stay, as well as the cost of medication for that particular month, it’s very important not to take one snapshot in time and draw a conclusion,” she said. “It’s important to watch the numbers over a period of time and not react to any particular spike up or down. We should look at the trends over time.”

In her monthly report to the board, Sanger also detailed her pleasure with the turnout and community support during the 2013 WMC Health Fair.

“The health fair was an amazing thing to be a part of,” Sanger said. “It was my first opportunity to visit the WMC fair and it really gave something back to the community through this effort.”

According to Sanger, this year’s event saw record numbers of blood screenings performed, including a new one that measures vitamin D levels. The WMC lab, working with volunteers from the Wrangell Volunteer Fire Department, drew blood for 13,310 separate tests this year and the lab processed 510 health profiles, up from 461 last year, and 330 people had the new vitamin D test.

Board president Woody Wilson also made a presentation regarding roof options for the planned WMC replacement facility and informed the group about price differentials between a low slope and gabled style roof system.

The current plan for the new hospital utilizes a low slope design. Adding a gable style roof to the project, according to Wilson, would add nearly $2.7 million to the project cost by adding increased steel structure, insulation, framing and plywood aspects to the construction.

Wilson also told the board that discussion over what type of roof to build will be handled in meetings with the design team in the near future.

The next meeting of the board is scheduled for May 15 at the Nolan Center.


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