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Hospital wrestles with impact of ‘Obamacare’
The impact of the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect the Connally Memorial Medical Center in Floresville was among the concerns addressed by the Wilson County Memorial Hospital District board of directors during its Feb. 20 meeting. Also before the board was a $105,000 performance fee to the hospital’s management company, Endeavor Healthcare.
The board approved Endeavor’s fee for the last fiscal quarter, after a report by chief executive officer Brian Burnside showed positive “revenue trend lines.”
The board held its February meeting in the parish center of Blessed Sacrament Church in Poth as part of a program to have meetings outside the walls of Connally Memorial Medical Center occasionally. The next two monthly meetings will take place in the hospital, but the April meeting will move to Stockdale. About a dozen citizens who are not board members attended last week’s meeting.
Both during his formal presentation and in later comments, Burnside emphasized the importance of expanding the hospital’s “presence” into all parts of the county and beyond.
He reported that La Vernia’s urgent care facility, which opened its doors Dec. 11, “broke 1,000 patients in January” and was currently averaging more than 20 patients a day.
As for the hospital district as a whole, Burnside called January a record month, with gross revenues topping $6.2 million.
“The growth plans you put in place ... are working,” said board President Ronnie Eckel.
More good news for taxpayers was that hospital district taxes had not increased and had, in fact, actually decreased from 11.48 cents to 11.46 cents per $100 of evaluation, according to Burnside.
Endeavor’s Karl Hittle addressed his company’s performance fee, explaining that revenues would have been even higher, but for the startup costs for the La Vernia facility.
“That’s commendable to me,” Eckel said, noting that Endeavor could have just pushed for revenue without considering expanded service to the community. The board unanimously approved the performance fee for Endeavor.
Meeting participants openly expressed apprehension regarding the effects of the Affordable Care Act on the hospital district in the future.
“It will hit hospitals,” Hittle said. “We’ll be expected to do more with less. We’ll have to capture more of the market.”
“We’re going to see declining reimbursement,” Burnside confirmed, but he suggested that over a short period of time the district would have an opportunity to capture more of the health-care market by putting more emphasis on outpatient clinics and wellness services.
“The way to grow market share is to grow our quality,” board member Larry Richardson said.
The board went into executive session and returned to take action on a hospital staff quality review of 59 hospital vendors. Staff recommendations were to continue the relationship with 58 vendors and nonrenewal with one; the board’s action reflected the recommendation.
The board also approved the Financial Reporting Package, Provider Revenue Review, Clinic System Review, and Investment Policy Review, as well as medical staff credentials and a quality improvement report.
Consideration of an audit report was delayed until the March board meeting.
In attendance: Connally Memorial Medical Center CEO Brian Burnside and Chief Financial Officer Jamie Jacoby; board members Amy Clark, Ronnie Eckel, Keith Johanson, Tom Ray, Larry Richardson, and Sandy Yow; Karl Hittle with Endeavor Healthcare
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