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Hospital rates will rise in 2010

December 7, 2009
by Antonio Acosta, Register Staff Writer
Next year it’s going to cost United Hospital District patrons more to go and see a doctor.

The hospital’s board of directors Tuesday approved a 2010 budget that takes into account a 5 percent hike in medical fees.

It’s the second straight year prices for inpatient and outpatient services have gone up.

United Hospital District administrator Jeff Lang says the increases have nothing to do with the cost of two construction projects totaling $19.5 million currently underway.

Under next year’s budget, gross revenue is projected to be $40.35 million, or up 7.5 percent from this year.

Lang says the additional income is not just attributed to higher prices.

“There are several different factors, an increase in volume at the clinic, more clients at the treatment center in Winnebago and the hiring of two physicians,” Lang says.

Next year’s ‘net income’ is projected at nearly $1.3 million. That would be down from this year’s budgeted profit of $1.455 million.

The district has reduced the amount to be spent on capital outlay. Historically, $1 million to $1.5 million is earmarked, however, in 2010 about $792,000 has been set aside.

Lang says there are less dollars for capital outlay because some of the items typically purchased are included in the two projects.

UHD took the first step to improve the hospital’s information technology system to achieve federal mandates of ‘meaningful use’ and electronic health records.

Board members voted to allow Lang to enter negotiations for membership into SISU Medical Solutions.

The 16-member medical centers would share information technology resources with UHD.

“We are required to report and share patient data with the federal government. It’s to provide more efficiency and improve the quality of care for our patients,” says Lang.

Belonging to SISU will cost $132,804 annually.

Some of the benefits for UHD would include information technology strategic and project planning; license discounts; group purchasing opportunities; and in-house services, resources and expertise.

The district in the last 12 months spent $225,000 for information technology related services.

The board also authorized the buy-out of a software license it currently uses for $125,000. That will allow the district to upgrade its software.

UHD also spent $24,400 to reserve the earliest possible date for installation of the software.

The improvements do carry some financial incentives under the 2009 Stimulus II package if ‘meaningful use’ objectives are attained.

Minnesota’s share of the incentives are estimated between $450 million and $650 million.

 
 

 

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