Seneca Healthcare District took a major hit during the month of October, ending its financial period with a net loss of nearly $152,000.
The negative balance is $64,000 more than the budgeted loss of $88,000 and $115,000 more than October of last year.
For the year to date, Seneca has a net loss of $172,000 but was expected to have a positive net gain of $308,000. According to the financials, the district was in much better shape last year, with a solid year-to-date net gain of $236,000.
The reason for the exorbitant fluctuation is partly due to a decrease in admissions and services, said Cheryl Darnel, director of finance. She said Seneca had to write off a lot of bad debt as well as cover expenses to implement the electronic medical records system.
Another attribute is the large decrease in patient days, which constitutes a loss of approximately $50,000 to the district.
Net patient revenue of $1,024,000 was under the budgeted amount of $1,033,000 by less than 1 percent. This was attributed to the fact that the Lake Almanor Basin population declines in the winter months, and therefore fewer patients are seen. The year-to-date actuals are only 2 percent below budget.
Due to an increase in surgery and lab visits, outpatient revenues went over budget by 3 percent. This resulted in the total gross patient revenues being under budget by 9 percent.
A 22 percent decline in inpatient revenues caused contractual allowances to be under budget by 13 percent.
Operating expenses for the year have increased from the prior year by $73,000 and are currently over budget by $104,000. According to Chief Executive Officer Linda Wagner, this was partially due to an increase in contract labor so that on-site staff could continue training on the electronic medical records system. “We had over $17,000 in contract labor because of the training,” said Wagner.
Another reason for the increase was due to the need for contracting out several vacant positions where staff nurses were either on medical leave or on vacation. “We have five registered nurse positions open, two of which are on temporary leave,” said Wagner.
A new 3M coding system was purchased by Wagner for $14,000. The purchase was not budgeted, however. Wagner said, “We really needed it so I signed off on it. It will be my responsibility to move the budget around to ensure we don’t go over because of it.” The purchase is expected to eventually see a return profit due to the new system being more efficient then the old one.
Cash on hand increased to $374,000, which was quite drastic compared to September’s $10,000. Restricted funds remain untouched and accounts payable increased by a mere 0.8 percent. Accounts receivable, however, decreased from $5.14 million to $4.53 million.
The number of days taken to collect payments decreased by four days, moving from 72 days in AR to 68 days. “We put extensive efforts in at the beginning of October o get every claim out of the system that can go out; those efforts paid off,” said Linda Stumpf, manager revenue cycle, Healthcare Resource Group.
President Ronald Longacre noted with pleasure that payment denials are continuing to decline.
The service terms of the SHD board president, Longacre, and the board treasurer, David Slusher, are set to expire as of Dec. 7.
Wagner is uncertain whether or not a special meeting will be called to order to swear in Longacre’s replacement, Bill Howe, or if they will be able to swear him in during the next board meeting, scheduled for Dec. 20.
The Nov. 29 board meeting was the last one conducted by Longacre. Vice President Loretta Gomez will assume presidential responsibilities until a new president is elected.
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