NEWS HEADLINES

Board examines new campus results, buys equipment

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Amidst the ongoing discussion of obstetric credentialing the Wise Regional Health System board on Monday heard discouraging financial news from the newly-acquired Bridgeport campus and agreed to spend north of $10 million on new equipment.

Finance Director Jim Eaton said the Bridgeport campus – formerly North Texas Community Hospital – lost about $600,000 in May after having lost a similar amount in April. Wise Regional purchased the facility out of bankruptcy in March, and it grand-opened May 17 after several weeks of renovation.

Wise Regional CEO Steve Summers said the news was not unexpected – and not alarming.

“Expenses are very much in line with the budget, and revenues will go up as we go along,” he said. He added that it’s difficult to pinpoint how much of the increased use of the Decatur facility can be attributed to the Bridgeport campus.

Chief Operating Officer Leon Fuqua said there were 57 surgeries at Bridgeport in May, and projections put that number at 82 for June. Comparable numbers for the Decatur campus are 625 surgeries in May and a projected 640 in June.

“The census there is still pretty small,” he said. “About 140 surgeries a month would be full utilization – the average before was probably 125. But everything’s there now, they’re ready.”

Summers said the initial decision to move the ICU to the Decatur campus is being reviewed – but he stressed the next day that Wise Regional expected a period of financial losses during the transition period, and is prepared for the long haul.

EQUIPMENT PURCHASES

The board authorized the purchase of 11 anesthesia replacement units at a cost of just under $898,000, to be paid for out of cash on hand. That compares to an original budget estimate of $1.4 million.

They also approved hardware and software upgrades for the hemodynamic monitoring system for both of the GE units in the WRHS cath lab – a $306,826 item that was not due to come up until next year’s budget. “You never know when they’re going to go out,” Summers said.

On top of that, the board authorized the purchase of just over $9 million in capital equipment for the Parkway Surgical Hospital currently under construction on Interstate 35 in north Fort Worth. That exceeds the original estimate of $5 to $6 million, Summers said, largely because more procedures have been added that will require more equipment.

“The building is moving along, and it’s time to get the equipment ordered,” he said. “It’s still a short payout – two to three years.”

In conjunction with that, the board authorized borrowing up to $7.5 million from Wells Fargo to cover most of the equipment purchases. The hospital will fund the rest out of its reserves.

After approving medical and staff appointments, reappointments and first-year reviews, the board adjourned just after 8 p.m.

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