In Aug. 28 - Sept. 3 issue By Greg Wells Times Journal Managing Editor
RUSSELL SPRINGS - The consternation was apparent on the faces of the hospital’s administration company executives as County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner spoke.
He told them they needed to cancel the impending cancellation of Anthem Blue Cross / Blue shield.
That cancellation notice is a common negotiation tactic, as they have made clear in previous board meetings and stated strongly again last week.
Jeff Buckley with Alliant told Garner, “Humana and others have worked with the hospital to meet their customers’ needs.”
He did not have praise for Anthem, “This contract is significantly less than what they have with other hospitals in the state.”
Buckley stressed that if the threat of contract termination is not out there the hospital’s bargaining power isn’t what it could be. Since the cancellation notice was delivered the large insurance company had, according to Alliant’s negotiators, made one offer which was not in the hospital’s best interest.
CEO Gary DelForge had said at a previous meeting that the offers Anthem were making didn’t even cover the hospital’s cost of service.
“It would be a mistake on the board’s behalf to lose that contract,” Garner said as he stressed repeatedly to the board that he wanted the Anthem contract renewed.
As the discussion moved on the CFO report by Ken Kimsal brought the subject of insurance back into the picture.
Kimsal’s figures showed a $120,592 profit from the operations of the hospital for the first month in the new fiscal year.
Repeatedly last year the operations side of the balance sheet was in negative numbers, which meant it cost more to operate the hospital than it was bringing in.
Part of last month’s profit was attributed to increased compensation from the insurance companies that the hospital has completed negotiations with.
Kimsal also pointed out that the hospital had seen 25 percent more in-patient procedures than they had planned for in the budget as well as 11 percent more out-patient services being provided.
He added that though gas and electric bills were higher than expected labor expenses were lower, and so the first month of the year was a positive one.
DelForge told the board of the expense of a new emitter tube for the hospital’s fluoroscope. He said the cost for just the tube would be $17,000 and he was not sure that would be the only expense in bringing that device back on line.
He also said the hospital was still working out issues related to the space needs for the laboratory.
In an interview later DelForge explained that to accommodate the lab’s space needs four of the hospital’s offices, as well as records and equipment will be scuffled.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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