Texas County Memorial Hospital ended December with a positive bottom line and anticipates finishing the year financially strong, the TCMH board of trustees heard at their monthly meeting Tuesday.
Chris Strickland, TCMH chief executive officer, and Linda Pamperien, TCMH chief financial officer, presented a positive picture for the hospital at the end of 2021. Inpatient and outpatient revenues were above budgeted expectations, boosting the numbers at year’s end.
“We have definitely seen larger volumes in the hospital especially with COVID taking another surge,” Pamperien said. “There was a 61 percent increase in just the emergency room which contributed to increases in lab, pharmacy and radiology.”
Pamperien reported the contractual adjustments at TCMH – the difference between the charge for care and what is paid – were much lower in December, due to making appropriate allowances for accounts receivable as of Dec. 31.
“The hospital’s overall expenses were up due to year-end inventory adjustments, insurance accruals and COVID patient supplies and care,” Pamperien said. Operating expenses at TCMH for December were up $385,867, a 12.3 percent increase, but the hospital ended the month of December with a positive bottom line of $553,039 and a year-to-date profit of $42,233.
According to Pamperien, the numbers may be improved further after the hospital’s audit this spring when the final financial picture for the year is completed. TCMH will receive a complete audit by BKD, an auditing firm from Springfield, and auditors will be on site in March. The audit results will be presented at the April board meeting.
“The CARES funding and PPP loan forgiveness have not been posted and will be recorded through the audit process,” Pamperien said. “It appears the hospital could have an exceptional financial year. I always try to take a conservative approach, so once numbers are finalized, we could have even better results.”
Strickland noted that waiting to post the CARES funding and PPP loan forgiveness during the audit, will give the community an actual view of how the hospital performed operationally.
“Our staff has done an excellent job, especially with the tough times rural hospitals are witnessing,” Strickland said. “We are in a good place operationally right now and have plans in place to continue heading in the right direction for our community, patients and staff.”
In new business, Strickland presented a draft of the new strategic plan document in development for the hospital. The plan consists of five focus areas– culture, quality, revenue, staffing and community.
“One of the main goals of the strategic plan is to focus on patient-centered care,” Strickland said. “We want to make improve our processes in ways that make receiving care at TCMH easy for patients.”
According to Strickland, the final draft of the strategic plan will be presented to the board of trustees in March for approval.
Courtney Owens, TCMH quality director, discussed the fourth quarter patient satisfaction scores.
“We are ending the year strong in comparison to how we started 2021,” Owens said. “I am really proud of what we have accomplished with improvement in most all areas of patient satisfaction.”
Helania Wulff, TCMH director of physician recruitment, announced that Dr. Hollis Tidmore, a surgeon, has officially signed a three-year contract with TCMH. Tidmore will begin full-time surgical services at TCMH on April 11.
“We are really looking forward to Dr. Tidmore’s arrival,” Wulff said. “He brings many years of experience and expertise, and he will be a tremendous asset to our community.”
Strickland discussed the current COVID situation in Missouri, in Texas County, and at the hospital. Missouri and Texas County’s risk level remains at “severe,” the highest classification level. Missouri’s positivity rate of 204.1 per 100,000 people is the highest recorded number since the pandemic began. Currently, only 32 percent of the population of Texas County is fully vaccinated. “TCMH continues to follow CDC recommendations for quarantining healthcare workers who test positive for COVID,” Strickland said.
According to Strickland, the hospital’s COVID patient numbers have been up, but not to the levels of patients with Covid as in the past. Strickland explained that the area is experiencing a bad respiratory season in general with high numbers of influenza and respirator syncytial virus (RSV). Norovirus cases are also high locally.
Staffing certain areas of the hospital continues to be a top priority, and Strickland discussed employee recruiting efforts and tactics for retaining current staff, especially in nursing departments.
“Nurse wages are being reviewed and the hospital is doing its diligence to ensure we are competitive in the marketplace,” Strickland said. “We are currently assessing wages and investigating employee benefits for possible long-term changes.”
Present at the meeting were Strickland; Pamperien; Owens; Wulff; Jeff Gettys, foundation director; Jonathan Beers, DO, chief of staff; Renina Pearce, medical staff coordinator; board members, Dr. Jim Perry, OD; Joleen Durham; Allan Branstetter and Steve Pierce.
The next meeting of the TCMH board of trustees is noon Tuesday, Feb. 22 in the Jayson Gentry Community Safe Room. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, persons may attend the meeting via teleconference. To attend the meeting via teleconference, call 417-967-1236 to be placed into the teleconference meeting.