In July 31 - Aug. 6 issueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal ReporterABOVE: Sheldon Stephens, chairman of the Russell County Hospital Foundation, reads over details to local doctors and county officials.
RUSSELL SPRINGS - During the Russell County Hospital Foundation's community event last Thursday, members of the hospital's board of directors, foundation members and hospital officials addressed several questions asked by citizens in attendance, among the topics of discussion were the hospital's patient load, financial condition and operational plans for the future.
The hospital's CFO, Ken Kimsal, gave a rundown on the hospital's financial condition over the past three years to the 50 or so in attendance.
He said the hospital's net operating income over the past three fiscal years had risen from around $13.5 million in 2006 to just over $15 million this year.
Over that same three year span, the hospital's combined operating expenses totaled nearly $44 million.
“That gave us an operating loss in each of those years but we're slowly improving,” Kimsal said. He said the operating expenses usually put the hospital in the red but that the hospital is taking action to progress that number upward.
He said the hospital receives interest, gifts and contributions each year that total near $100,000. He said due to rising real estate values, this year's tax revenue for the hospital topped at $661,000.
Kimsal said the hospital had a positive income of around $342,000 in the 2008 fiscal year.
He said the hospital's inpatient care was going down, under 1,000 patients for the last fiscal year. He said that this was a national trend.
“In the outpatient areas we are seeing some increases,” he said. “In the emergency room, we've gone from 10,000 (in 2006) to 11,000 (in 2007) to 12,000 (in 2008) annual visits.”
Hospital CEO Gary DelForge said the hospital had purchased around $2.7 million worth of equipment within the last three years.
“We've set up a new nuclear medicine department and a new pharmacy and we've had to renovate areas to be able to do that,” he said. “We've been successful at reducing our debt and we will, with this new financial performance that we're projecting this year, we'll be able to further reduce that debt.”
DelForge also said the hospital has its sights set on a geriatric/psychiatric program in the coming months.
“We're going to need about another 1,800 square feet to move our administrative people out of the administration building so we can set that up for the geriatric and psych programs,” he said. This program would be an outpatient program set up to specifically diagnose depression and anxiety.
“We're also going to be reviewing our expansion capabilities in this upcoming year,” he said. “We're going to be continually working to provide a better quality of care for this community.
Recently, the hospital's foundation, a non-profit organization, retained the services of Pride Philanthropy to determine the feasibility of charitable support for its future expansions and programs, according to Sheldon Stephens, chairman of the foundation.
He said the objectives for the study were to assess the potential for philanthropic support for the hospital, to recommend a plan of action to generate philanthropic support and to establish a plan to start a comprehensive fundraising program to help the ongoing development of the hospital.
According to Stephens, 72 confidential interviews of various persons in the community, with and without affiliation to the hospital, were conducted over a six-day period.
Pride Philanthropy representatives reviewed the interviews as well as information obtained about the hospital and the county as a whole. Pride then released their conclusions and recommendations to the hospital's foundation, Stephens said.
A summary of the feasibility study said the hospital's foundation was well positioned to to take a “meaningful and significant,” step forward in its capacity to generate gift income and positively benefit the healthcare of the community.
Based on Pride Philanthropic's feasibility study, they believe the county would support a $500,000 to $800,000 goal in projects as long as a “compelling need,” is explained.
Eighty percent of those they interviewed for the study said they would consider giving to the foundation.
Just this week, the hospital's laboratory was awarded an accreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists based on the results of a recent on-site inspection.