Texas County Memorial Hospital’s board of trustees are growing weary of the ongoing discussions regarding the unpaid medical bills of the Texas County Sheriff’s Department, but are willing to work with the county officials to find a resolution that will benefit everyone involved, including the county’s taxpayers.
The news came Tuesday during a trustee’s meeting and uncompensated care issues continue to be a main topic, including the county’s non-payments to the hospital.
The board members discussed the recent response of the Texas County officials to the November board of trustee’s meeting article that was recently published.
“We agree that the statute they quote is on point,” Jim Perry, OD, TCMH board of trustees president said. “Now we just need them to comply.”
Board members agreed that as the statute is written, the Texas County Sheriff’s Department does have the obligation to procure health services for their inmates, but it does not state that they can procure healthcare services without paying for them.
“The county officials have the means to seek reimbursement from their inmates according to the statute,” Perry said. “They just need to follow through with it.”
Perry explained that the statute clearly states what is to be done if the inmate does not have insurance. Nowhere does it state that the hospital is responsible for the costs of the care provided, he said.
“Our county jail is getting paid by other counties for accepting their inmates since we have room to take care of them,” Wes Murray, TCMH chief executive officer said. “If those inmates need after-hours or emergent care the county jail will still get paid, but the hospital will not.”
Murray mentioned that some of the issues that TCMH has dealt with in the past have improved.
“They no longer release inmates in our parking lot,” Murray said. “When they do bring inmates in for emergent or after-hours care, they accompany the inmates the entire time they are at the hospital.”
“However, uncompensated care is what is hurting the hospital financially and it continues to be our greatest concern,” Murray explained.
Murray mentioned that he will address the officials of Texas County with a letter in response to the last rebuttal recently published in area newspapers.
“We just want to work out a solution that will benefit our entire community. We’re invested in this hospital,” Murray said. “This hospital is a lifeline to the residents of Texas County and our surrounding communities.”
Doretta Todd-Willis, TCMH chief nursing officer, reported that the corrective action plan submitted to the state following a full Recertification Survey and Life Safety Code/Emergency Preparedness Survey by the state of Missouri was approved as written.
The survey occurred Oct. 22 and TCMH received word that its Plan of Correction was approved within just a few days of submitting it.
Todd-Willis mentioned that TCMH staff have received some additional training and there have been a few changes in written policies as part of their plan to address the deficiencies.
The state will be coming back to visit TCMH sometime before the end of December as part of the final step in their survey review process.
The TCMH board members approved the 2020 operating and capital budgets for the hospital.
Hospital board members, Omanez Fockler and Janet Wiseman recently met with administration to go over the details of the next fiscal year’s expectations.
“This year has not gone as well as we had hoped,” Murray said. “We have budgeted 2020 to be as neutral as possible.”
Murray explained that the capital items outlined in the 2020 budget will not get purchased unless they become absolutely necessary.
“Quality and safety are two things that we will never jeopardize when it comes to patient care,” Murray said. “Everything else will have to be looked at as a case by case situation so we can maintain our fiscal responsibility and turn things around next year.”
Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented the financial report for November.
Revenues were down significantly for the month on both the inpatient and outpatient sides.
“Overall revenues were down a record $1,752,016 in November from our budgeted expectations,” Pamperien said. “Inpatient volumes were down $349,735 and outpatient revenue was down $1,330,306 for the month.”
“Our emergency room visits have been down all year long which impacts our inpatient volumes,” Murray said. “Normally we will at least see an uptick in volumes during the cold and flu season, but we have not seen a spike in volumes this fall like we do traditionally.”
TCMH closed out November with total gross operating revenue of $5,276,179.66 with net revenues after reductions and contractuals being $2,187,182.39.
TCMH ended November with a negative bottom line of $544,585.35 and a negative year-to-date loss of $2,023,456.57.
Present at the meeting were Murray; Pamperien; Todd-Willis; Amanda Turpin, quality; Rachel Davis, public relations; Linda Milholen, MD; board members, Perry; Omanez Fockler; Jay Loveland; Allan Branstetter; Janet Wiseman and guest, William Mahoney, CoxHealth Representative.
The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon, Tuesday, Jan. 27 in the hospital board room.