As 2013 draws to an end, Wise Regional Health System has several things going on that should improve the hospital’s financial fortunes in 2014.
During a board meeting Monday evening, trustees noted that the system’s consolidated loss for November was $98,000 – despite a $450,000 loss at the Bridgeport campus, which joined WRHS in March.
Chief Financial Officer Jim Eaton told the board the receipt of 1115 waiver funds during November helped offset operational losses that came about as a result of lower patient volumes across all lines of service. But losses at the Bridgeport campus are expected to lessen in December, after inpatient services were suspended there Dec. 1.
The Bridgeport facility will continue to offer emergency services, imaging and outpatient services.
Eaton noted that no full-time staff were laid off as a result of the move, with those Bridgeport employees filling open positions at the Decatur campus.
Board members also heard a report on the system’s 2014 worker’s compensation insurance policy. A new policy for 2014 was approved and although the premium is up 12 percent over 2013, it was noted that WRHS has seen a 25 percent increase in the number of employees since that policy was purchased.
Texas Hospital Insurance Exchange, the successful bidder, will provide not only the policy, but comprehensive audits and evaluations of the hospital’s existing safety measures to help minimize employee injury risks.
Wise Regional CEO Steve Summers gave the board an update on development of Parkway Surgical Hospital, where construction continues. He said the surgical and catheterization laboratory equipment should begin moving in around the end of December, and construction should be complete by the end of January.
The 29,000 square-foot facility is located on North Tarrant Parkway, not far from the intersection of U.S. 81/287 and Interstate 35. The inpatient surgical facility that will include four operating rooms, two procedure rooms and 12 inpatient beds with a laboratory, radiology and preoperative services and an emergency room.
It will provide spine, orthopedics, cardiology, plastic surgery, pain and gastroenterology services and is due to open in March.
In addition, Wise Regional continues to work towards refinancing approximately $55 million of its bonded indebtedness – approximately 75 percent of the facility’s debt. Rating agencies have been invited to consider setting an investment-grade bond rating for the debt, in an effort to lower the hospital system’s interest costs.
STAFF APPOINTMENTS APPROVED
The board also approved several new appointments to the medical staff, based on the recommendations of the Medical Executive Committee, and accepted the medical staff’s annual review of various medical service contracts.
New appointments were approved for:
- Nathaniel Berrios, PA, Allied Health in surgery;
- Jenna Chapa, NP, Allied Health in the Emergency Department;
- Michael Fuller, PA-C, Allied Health in surgery;
- Theodoor Hancke, CRNA, Allied Health in anesthesia;
- Samantha Mullins, DPM, Active Staff in Podiatry;
- Syed Rahman, MD, Active Staff in the Emergency Department;
- John Douglas Ramey, CRNA, Allied Health in anesthesia; and
- Robin Weerts, CRNA, Allied Health in Anesthesia.
The board tabled action to modify the medical staff bylaws until its January meeting to allow more time for responses from staff members.
Hardware, software purchased
The board approved an upgrade for both the information hardware and software that interfaces with the Soarian electronic clinical record system and the financial and patient admission system.
The $251,704 upgrade, which was budgeted, enables Wise Regional to continue implementation of the electronic health information system. Since the federal government began encouraging health care providers to adopt Electronic Health Records (EHR), usage of existing hard and software systems has increased dramatically.
EHR Systems are a key component in modernizing health care delivery by providing better-coordinated care – which can both improve patients’ health and save money. Wise Regional effectively began use of the Soarian electronic health record system in November, with significant help from the medical staff.
The Board also approved a $259,435 budget item for upgrades to multiple information systems required to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements in 2014. These include modules for the Lab, Pharmacy, Soarian Clinicals and Data Management.
Summers told the board the 163-page initial draft of the Community Health Assessment that was conducted earlier this year has been delivered and is under review by key hospital personnel. Full results should be available soon at WiseRegional.com soon.
While much of the report is technical and includes census and Department of Health statistics, it will help to identify areas of need within the community, Summers said, that are specific to health care.
Bruce Miller, vice-president of network development for Baylor Quality Alliance, gave the board an overview of the recent merger between Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare. The newly branded BaylorScott & White Health was born out of growing pressure to demonstrate value and improve outcomes while lowering total health care costs.
Those are issues facing most large health care systems in the nation today.
The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. in the hospital’s administration board room.