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Summer slowdown under way at WRH

WORTHINGTON -- Inpatient volume continued its seasonal slump in May, but the financial picture at Worthington Regional Hospital was bolstered by outpatient activity.

"Outpatient volume increased, and that's what ran our revenue," explained WRH chief financial officer Bruce Viessman at Monday's finance committee meeting of the WRH Board of Trustees. "Outpatient numbers have pretty much propped up the inpatient, and that's the way it's probably going to be for the rest of the summer."

Inpatient revenue was under budget by $162,066 in May, but outpatient volume was over budget by $354,060. Total operating expenses were pretty much on target, under budget by just $77. Income from operations was $74,965, compared to a budget of $75,652.

For the year to date, patient revenue is $363,000 (2 percent) above budget, and operating expenses are under budget by $111,785 (1 percent). Income from operations for the year is $291,558, compared to a budget of $378,260 and last year of $551,122.

Viessman noted that the behavioral health unit, which had previously been an area of concern for the board due to staffing issues, showed increase in both admissions and days of care during May.

During the main business portion of the meeting, the trustees:

l Approved some revisions to the medical staff bylaws concerning call status and coverage. The changes require courtesy or consulting staff members to participate in the call schedule if he or she provides direct patient care to 20 or more patients in any calendar year. Consulting staff status is also more specifically defined. The board mandated the inclusion of the following specialties on the call schedule: surgery, obstetrics-gynecology, internal medicine, pediatrics and family practice.

l Adopted a resolution indicating the board's interest in entering into a lease for equipment and the intent to use some of the proceeds of the lease to reimburse the hospital for initial costs associated with the purchase of the equipment.

The equipment referred to in the resolution is the linear accelerator for the planned radiation oncology center. The hospital was required to remit a deposit of $134,947 when ordering the equipment.

WRH Administrator Mel Platt reported that the plans for the radiation oncology center are currently being reviewed by the appropriate state agencies, and bid documents are being developed and finalized to be sent out to potential bidders in early July. The bids are due to the construction manager by July 26.

The construction manager will present the results of the bidding process to the board at a special meeting scheduled for 4 p.m. July 31, and bids will be awarded at that time. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 10 a.m. the next day, Aug. 1. Heavy equipment should already be in place by that date so that initial construction can begin immediately.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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