In July 23 Issue
At the end of the fiscal year there was little fanfare over the $1.4 million profit at Russell County Hospital.
The board and leadership moved the hospital from previous years' operational losses, with survival based only on the tax income, to paying off the bonding and showing a profit of more than a million dollars.
Ken Kimsal reported to the board that the final month of the year was 14 percent better than budget for operational income, while expenses were less than half that increase.
The shock of the meeting was not how well the hospital was doing, but how expensive it suddenly seems to be to secure federal funds for expansion of the facilities.
In order to secure USDA grants and loans something called a "feasibility study" has long been required.
Jeff Buckley, with the hospital's management firm Alliant, told the board that the nature of that study has changed. It has always included a forecast of profit or loss for a hospital in the future, for the term of any loan.
The reports were always filed by accounting firms, but he said that now the government requires the firm to "certify" those forecasts as "examined", which means putting their name on the line assuring the government that what is estimated will come to fruition.
With less than $10,000 in the budget for that feasibility study several on the board responded with shock as the $50,000 and $80,000 bids were revealed by Buckley.
He suggested it may be better to wait for the economy to improve before proceeding with expansion planning at the hospital.
In other action at the July 16th meeting of the board of directors-
• The board approved budgeted repairs to air conditioning at the Medical Arts building.
• They approved the budgeted purchase of a software system to coordinate the hospital's policy and procedures manual across all of the hospital's departments.
• A significant donation was passed through to the hospital foundation. The approximately $30,000 is intended to be the seed money for the foundation's future contributions to hospital improvements.
• A new account was approved, which will be used to offset depreciation, and the money the hospital had been setting aside monthly to pay on bonding would be redirected there.
• Board Chairman Jeff Hubbard informed those present that the hospital is cooperating with a group seeking government funds for a women's health clinic.
"It wouldn't be in competition with the hospital," Hubbard told the board. "There are always people who fall through the cracks in the system, and that is what they are trying to address."