Early 2015 numbers project hospital cash increase

Preliminary hospital budget figures show the hospital anticipates a five percent revenue increase in the next fiscal year.

Operating revenues are projected to increase five percent, while operating expenses will increase by about four percent, according to figures presented to the hospital board June 11 by CFO Dana Strong.

That slight increase in profitability means the hospital will post a 13 percent increase in cash flow over the annualized 2014 numbers, budget figures provided at the meeting show. That would represent the third-largest cash-flow increase since 2008-09, when the hospital almost tripled cash flow, as well as the third-straight year of cash-flow increases after three years of losses between 2009-10 and 2011-12.

Compared with 2013-14, when a bookkeeping revision led to an 88 percent cash-flow increase over 2012-13, this year’s increases are based around increased hospital use, Strong said.

“It seems we just did this a while ago,” he said, alluding to the passage of the fiscal year 2014 budget in March. “This year is turning out to be … a very good year. When compared against 2013, the numbers are pretty significantly increased.”

Inpatient days have increased about 20 percent over 2013, while swing bed usage has increased about 40 percent, and long term care usage is up about 15 percent, Strong told the board. The revenue increase could allow expenses – which include salaries and benefits – to increase four percent next year, a raise needed to offset recent years when the hospital did not make salary increases, Strong said.

“We haven’t done any cost-of-living adjustment for quite some time, from what I can tell,” he said. “I think we’re seriously considering that. We’re probably going to have to look at overall step increases, but overall it’s going to come out to four percent. I think we’re right on the line.”

While salary and benefits may increase overall, not every member of the hospital staff will have larger numbers on their paychecks, Strong said. That’s in part because many staff members are already at the highest salary level for individual positions, Strong said.

“A lot of individuals are actually at their maximum level, so we’re trying to take that into consideration as well. So I think overall, globally, it’ll be something like three to four percent,” he said.

The salary increases are merited in part because the hospital has trimmed expenses related to traveling nurses – replaced earlier this year with full-time resident nurses – and reduced the total number of full-time equivalent positions, Strong said.

At the same time, a census of the profitable long-term care facility has shown it to be between 95 and 100 percent full for “several months,” Strong said.

Strong said that the numbers aren’t yet completed and may change as hospital officials refine the budget picture and work to construct a capital budget in the coming weeks.

The board took no action on the budget, which was an informational presentation only.


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