In July 22 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
Estimates for the construction costs are falling to about $10 million, with the total amount financed falling at $15 million or under, interim Chief Executive Officer George Walz said after the recent hospital board meeting.
Chief Financial Officer Ken Kimsal said Russell County Hospital's application to the United States Department of Agriculture for the funding of the construction and renovation project is due this August.
"We've got about six weeks," Kimsal told the board at the July 8th regular board meeting.
He showed the board the architects drawings and sketches and said they would be presenting more data to the firm that is doing the feasibility study so they could finish their work in time for the deadline.
The project as planned would put a new building, connected to the old one, on its west side. There would be new public and ambulance entry ways, a new emergency center, surgical areas and intensive care unit.
Space in the existing hospital would be re-tasked and in Walz's words, "Every department in the hospital will be touched by this project."
At the present time, both men said, the federal agency has made no commitments to fund the project since they haven't reached that stage of the application process.
Funding has preliminarily been approved for the addition of a digital mammography unit at the hospital.
Kimsal said the hospital's cost for over $300,000 worth of equipment would be about $62,000.
Walz will be retiring and no longer available to assist at the hospital by the end of the month, the board was reminded by Alliant representative Jeff Buckley.
Alliant is the firm employed by the board to manage the hospital.
Buckley also said the last CEO candidate the board had approved took another job, rather than accepting their offer.
He said they would be presenting another round of applications to the board as soon as possible. The hospital has been without permanent fulltime CEO for about two years following Alliant's termination of the previous CEO.
In the financial report Kimsal told the board that revenue in the last month of the fiscal year had been about 19 percent ahead of budget, with the yearly total being very close to budget.
Overall, he said, the hospital finished the year on June 30th with $1.6 million in profits, compared to $1.4 million the previous year.
Kimsal also said that based on the figures he'd reviewed the Medicare cost adjustment coming up would be in the hospital's favor. The federal healthcare program pays monthly, based on hospital charges; then reviews and adjusts that total quarterly charging the hospital for overpayments or reimbursing them for underpayments at that time.
Walz told the board they were in negotiations with an arthroscopy specialist, and could have a practice operating at the hospital in September if all goes well.
Buckely also told the board that the latest news from Washington was that there are now rules for the implementation of the Electronic Health Records mandate and the hospital would need to continue their progress toward that end.
Over a month ago the feds announced the approval of certain vendors products for that EHR system, and the hospital's present system provider was on the list, Kimsal said in a previous interview.
Walz told the board that they have been working with area doctors to insure that the hospital's system and their systems will work together.