VDMC talks revenue issues

Adaptation to industry changes and increasing staff support were suggested to increase revenue at Tuesday’s meeting of the Van Diest Medical Center Board of Trustees.

During Chief Financial Officer Alice Heinrichs’ financial report and fiscal services summary to the board, Heinrichs noted inpatient and outpatient revenues had declined. Additionally, she said VDMC has had $750 less in cash per day due to the sequestration year-to-date.

Year-to-date, Heinrichs said VDMC has $8,117,000 in net revenue, down from $8,890,000 year-to-date at this point last year. The gross revenue difference from the last fiscal year is $464,000. Board member Justin Deppe noted that labor costs, decreases in expected income from inpatient and outpatient services, changes and regulations and more have contributed to the decrease in revenue.

“It’s a myriad of issues, not just one issue, that the hospital as a whole has to deal with. It’s more costly to do business as a hospital now than it was this time last year,” Deppe said.

Dr. Mark Andrew, who was present at the meeting, said he believed the loss in revenue has come from contention within the hospital.

“To me, the issue is that we need to have everyone, medical staff, nursing staff, everyone, 100 percent in support of this hospital. That’s how we’re going to correct that dollar figure. That’s why we’re 400-and-some (dollars) behind is because we have medical staff members that are not 100 percent in support of this hospital,” Andrew said.

Heinrichs said the month of December is looking better for the hospital. Through Monday, the daily gross revenue at VDMC was $116,560, up from $90,521 in November. In October, that number was about $103,000, according to Heinrichs who said she thought that increase came from a higher number of surgeries being performed at the hospital.

“Inpatient isn’t going to carry us any longer. This is a change in the industry. We knew it was coming and it’s here,” Heinrichs said.

Other business

In new business, the board approved several medical staff appointments. Bridget Burke, of Waukee, and Linda Newsome, of Corning, were appointed to the contract ER staff. Douglas Rusnack and Nayyer Islam were appointed to the consulting staff. Dianne Cooper, of Des Moines, Linda Milner, of Webster City, and Dean Heideman, of Belmond, were appointed to the Allied health staff.

Several reappointments were also approved at Tuesday’s meeting. Sushma Sahai was reappointed to pediatrics staff, Pierre Bernard was reappointed to family medicine and Eric Crowder was reappointed to teleradiology. Twelve individuals were reappointed to emergency medicine staff and five were reappointed to the Allied health staff.

Proposed amendments to the hospital’s foundation were tabled until the board’s January meeting. Two listed changed included changing the name of the foundation from Hamilton County Hospital Foundation to Van Diest Medical Center Foundation and changing language in a section dealing with the annual election of directors from “1/4 of the total members” being elected to “at least two members.”

The proposed amendments were tabled after board member Roberta Knutson said there were several other changes to the foundation bylaws that were not listed in a handout provided to board members and the media. After discussing several language changes, the board chose to table the business to change other items in the bylaws.

The board also approved a capital request to replace an ambulance cot. The board was told the cot was nearing repair life and showing signs of deterioration. The new cot will have improved side rails to better accommodate obese patients and distribute weight evenly. The old cot will be kept for use as a spare. The new cot will be bought at a cost of $14,238.60.

The board ended their public meeting with a closed session to discuss the performance and compensations of an individual who had requested a closed session meeting.