Bartlett Regional Hospital’s fiscal watchdogs are still studying factors that led to the hospital’s revenues plummeting this year below anticipated levels, while preparing ways to counter an expected decline in next year's budget.
The hospital's Finance Committee held a special meeting on Monday and updated the full board on February’s financial figures compared to year-to-date figures, proposed charity care, collections policies and other topics.
The committee also met in executive session to discuss items related to the budget that could harm the hospital’s finances.
Interim Chief Financial Officer Dennis Stillman told the committee on Monday the hospital is projected to be $9 million below its projected revenues. Stillman said the biggest driver in the shortfall is a lack of patient volume, not extra spending.
Preparing for this fiscal year, the hospital made a small increase to staff as it anticipated more volume than prior years. Instead, patient volume has dropped to 2009-2010 levels and expenses have remained the same. Currently, Stillman is projecting the hospital will not see a serious deficit this year.
"The bottom line says ... we're going to be at basically break-even at the end of the year," he said. "These are based on assumptions on the next three to four months. Basically we’re off by about $9 million from where we budgeted to be. Most of it is a volume issue."
Linda Thomas, board vice president and committee chairwoman, said as they move forward into fiscal year 2013, they need to be careful to not be over-reactive in responding to the volume dip.
The committee has been meeting regularly to determine and discuss factors involved in the decline. During last week's meeting, the panel learned the decline is probably largely part of a national decline, as more patients are spending more either in higher deductibles or for insurance costs, so people are making less use of health care facilities.
The full board meets at 5:15 p.m. today in the hospital’s Administrative Board Room and is expected to pick up the topic again.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.