The Stephens County Hospital Authority approves a Fiscal Year 2015 budget for the hospital.
Authority members unanimously approved that budget at their regular meeting on Monday.
Stephens County Hospital’s Fiscal Year runs from October 1 through September 30.
Hospital Administrator Ed Gambrell said the budget does include a 3.5 percent rate increase at the hospital.
However, Gambrell said that 3.5 percent increase is not something everybody will notice.
“It really depends on the insurance,” said Gambrell. “In the old days, a rate increase meant something. Now it does not mean as much because so many payors pay us based on diagnosis or some different contract out there. So, it will bring some additional cash in, but it will not bring in a true 3.5 percent more than we bring in today either.”
Gambrell said there are no other major changes in the budget for Fiscal Year 2015 from the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.
He said the hospital’s budget projects to end Fiscal Year 2015 with a positive bottom line of about $846,000.
“We need a positive bottom line overall just to buy new equipment, build when we build, and things like that,” said Gambrell. “As you know, it has been a struggle the past few years, but I really do feel more positive from a financial perspective than I did for the past several years at this time of the year.”
According to Gambrell, the hospital did not have a positive bottom line in Fiscal Year 2013, losing about $2.5 million, which he called a “terrible year.”
As for the current fiscal year, Gambrell said the hospital has a negative bottom line for Fiscal Year 2014 of about $650,000.
However, he noted the hospital had a positive bottom line in July, continuing a trend that the hospital has seen for the past several months.
Gambrell also said that the hospital remains in a dispute with Medicare over old cost reports and if that is resolved in this fiscal year, it is possible the hospital could end this fiscal year with a positive bottom line.
Last year, Stephens County Hospital reported that it had around $800,000 in Medicare funds withheld over a dispute that stems from Medicare paperwork filed by the hospital back in Fiscal Year 2009.
Gambrell has said that the hospital expects to eventually receive that income once the matter is resolved.