MMH sees over $80K in April donations for ambulance, dental, chemotherapy

    Specialty care at Melissa Memorial Hospital got a huge boost this month, with more than $80,000 in donations accepted from Black Hills Energy, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation and the Heginbotham Trust.
    MMH CEO Trampas Hutches reviewed all of the donations at the April 23 meeting of the East Phillips County Hospital District Board.
    Black Hills Energy donated $22,000 to the hospital, including $2,000 from the company’s Holyoke office, for a third ambulance to be operated by the Holyoke Ambulance Service.
    A $50,000 contribution made by Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation will go toward personnel costs at MMH’s dental clinic, which opened its doors this month. Hutches said the hospital’s dentist — Sylvia Noteware, DMD — is booked for the next three weeks and plans to see four to six patients each day.
    The Heginbotham Trust’s $9,029 donation for the Londa Wernet Bradford Cancer Center will help fund the center’s new fume hood to be used for preparing chemotherapy drugs. The hospital is discussing construction bids with the project’s architect.
    Hutches also announced the selection of Cathy Harshbarger as chief clinical officer and the promotion of interim pharmacist Kwei Leong to a full-time role. The hospital passed its recertification as a Level IV trauma center with no deficiencies identified.

Auditor identifies no major issues, talks Medicare concerns
    Luke Zarecor of auditing firm Dingus, Zarecor & Associates PLLC presented to the board on its 2018 financial audit of the hospital.
    Zarecor did not identify any changes that need to be made to the hospital’s accounting procedures and confirmed that 2018 saw a significant operational improvement from the previous year.
    He also said the hospital’s 167 days cash on hand reflects a solid financial position. According to DZA, the average U.S. hospital with fewer than 50 beds had 139 days cash on hand in 2018, and the average Colorado hospital had 32.
    He did caution that, with the projected 2026 depletion of the trust fund backing Medicare, the hospital’s single largest payment source could be jeopardized.
    Although he didn’t identify any danger posed by the hospital’s recent diversification of services, he said MMH should monitor its returns to make sure their new service lines are sustainable over the long term.
    The hospital’s net position increased to $11,022,815 at the end of 2018 from $10,439,386 at the end of 2017. The change in net income was $123,765 above budget for 2018.
    MMH CFO Wes White provided the month’s financial report, although he did not give a presentation Tuesday.
    In March, the hospital saw a net loss of $156,810 following a February net loss of $23,922, and a year-to-date income of $45,455.
    March utilization was mixed, with inpatient days increasing from 149 to 151, emergency department visits down to 278 from 331, and radiology, CT, MRI and ultrasound exams down to 834 from 856.
    
Lewis presents on AR success
    Felicia Lewis reported to the board on her office’s growth since taking on the role of business office manager in August.
    A 13-day drop in accounts receivable was identified by Lewis and White as a particular point of pride for the office.
    The office has added four employees for a total of seven since Lewis took over, and she said their next goal is an additional 16-day cut in accounts receivable, for 50 days total.
    “Felicia walked into a department that had not had stable management for several years,” White said. “She’s done a great job for us bringing AR days down. Her whole team has.”
    
Other business
    In other business at the April 23 meeting, the board held a 24-minute executive session to discuss negotiations on request from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield on a significant negative unilateral contract change, as well as an update on an ongoing investigation.
    The board also accepted credentialing for five new appointments, including Sylvia Noteware, DMD, in dentistry; Nidal Dabbasi, M.D., Timothy Stone, M.D., and Ammar Taha, M.D., in radiology; and Jonathan Kleinman, M.D., in teleneurology. Harry Hamner, M.D., was reappointed in pathology, and provisional ends were granted to Michael Matergia, M.D., in family medicine, and Venkata Diddi, M.D., and Suzanne Newman, M.D., in telepsychiatry.
   

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