NEWS HEADLINES

Financial picture at Bridgeport gradually improving

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013

When it comes to Wise Regional Bridgeport, the big picture is getting better.

Wise Regional Health System directors met Monday and, among other items, heard a financial report on the overall system as well as the hospital at Bridgeport, which Wise Regional began operating this spring.

Although it’s still losing money – about $300,000 in August – prospects for the Bridgeport facility continue to improve according to Chief Financial Officer Jim Eaton.

“What we’re finding out in Bridgeport is that they have a higher amount of self-pay and Medicaid than we have here,” he said.

That, he noted, means charity and bad debt adjustments are rising at a higher rate than revenues – although revenues are indeed rising.

Eaton said he hopes the startup of an Intensive Care Unit at Bridgeport Oct. 1 will enhance revenue.

“We’re hopeful that will increase the admissions and patient days at Bridgeport,” he said. “Outpatient services are about where they were when it was operating as North Texas Community Hospital. It’s the admissions and the inpatient revenues that are falling short of what they were.

“Maybe with an ICU the doctors will feel more comfortable keeping more patients there.”

CEO Steve Summers said the 1115 Waiver program approved for Texas hospitals generated some additional funding for the Bridgeport facility in August, related to the planned development of a variety of programs to enhance patient care in the community over the next few years.

“Our expectations are that services will continue to increase over the winter months,” Summers said.

NEW DIALYSIS PROGRAM APPROVED

The board authorized the development of a peritoneal dialysis service associated with the hospital, in cooperation with nephrologist Dr. Aamir Zuberi.

Peritoneal dialysis, like regular hemodialysis, is a method of filtering the blood for patients with impaired kidney function. Unlike hemodialysis, however, peritoneal dialysis allows patients to hook themselves up at home and in some cases even move around while undergoing the treatment.

“It’s been around for a long time,” board member Dr. Jon Walker said. “There were complications, but they have improved on some of the techniques, and people have actually been able to get it where they can walk around with it. It still requires some effort on their part, but they don’t necessarily have to come into a facility and sit there all day.”

Summers said the hospital will be working with Dr. Zuberi to identify a location for the new service, near the existing dialysis center, and start the process of building.

OTHER BUSINESS

The board also:

  • approved an extension and expansion of the lease for Fit-N-Wise Physical Therapy Services in the Bridgeport 380 Center just east of Bridgeport. Wise Regional will provide therapy services in a 4,500-square-foot area when it is finished out.
  • approved a memorandum of understanding with the Helen Farabee Center for the care of individuals in need of substance abuse treatment, documenting the cooperation between that facility and Wise Regional’s Behavioral Health Services program.
  • heard a progress report on construction at Parkway Surgical and Cardiovascular Hospital, under construction on Interstate 35 in Fort Worth at North Tarrant Parkway. The facility should be ready for occupancy in late January and should be open by April.
  • approved six new appointments to the medical staff and reviewed and approved bi-annual reappointment and first-year reviews for three physicians and allied health professionals based on recommendations of the Medical Executive Committee.

The board’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, in the administration boardroom at Wise Regional Health System, 609 Medical Center Dr., in Decatur.

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