Hospital district aims to reduce tax rate
The Wilson Memorial Hospital District board of directors is striving toward a budget that will rely less on property-tax contributions, according to information presented during an Aug. 14 budget workshop. Karl Hittle, chief executive officer (CEO) of Endeavor Healthcare -- which manages the Connally Memorial Medical Center -- said Endeavor’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget relies on 10 percent less property- tax revenue.
According to the budget worksheet, as of July, the hospital projected that it would collect a total of $3,314,118 in property taxes and other subsidies. The proposed budget allows for collecting $2,982,706, which is a decrease of $331,412.
Board President Ronnie Eckel said that improved operations at Connally are allowing for a decrease in the amount of property taxes needed to support the hospital. While a tax rate has not been finalized, he said the ad valorem tax rate for the coming fiscal year will be less than the current 15.22 cents per $100 of taxable value.
“Our funding is going to be tied to improving health care in our community,” said Connally CEO Jerome Brooks.
The budget projects Connally to finish the current fiscal year with $18,654,002 of inpatient revenue. For the 2013 fiscal year, that number is anticipated to increase 6.11 percent to $19,793,742.
Outpatient revenue, which is projected to finish at $38,686,164 during the 2012 fiscal year, is projected to increase 15.2 percent to $44,565,595 next year. Brooks said these increases are tied largely to new physicians, including a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, and two family practitioners.
Eckel, while pleased that the hospital will rely less on support from the county’s taxpayers, expressed concern, because last year’s revenue fell 10 percent short of projections.
“If we miss this one by 10 percent, salaries don’t come down, payments to the physicians don’t come down, expenses don’t come down,” he said.
Hittle took responsibility for the shortfall, saying that he over-projected the revenue collected by the hospital’s emergency room, having projected $12,000 per month, but only receiving slightly more than $11,000.
The board was set to approve a draft of the proposed budget at its Aug. 16 regular meeting. For more about that meeting, see story, above.
Wilson Memorial Hospital District, Aug. 14 budget workshop
In attendance: Board members Ronnie Eckel, Amy Clark, Jimmy Fietsam, Monica Flores, and Tommy Soriero; Connally Memorial Medical Center Finance Director Patricia Solis, Chief Executive Officer Jerome Brooks, and administrative assistant Shirley Bienek; and Karl Hittle of Endeavor Healthcare.