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UHD raises prices again

By Staff | Dec 12, 2010

Jeff Lang

For the third straight year, United Hospital District officials have said “yes” to a hike in medical fees.

“It’s to keep up with the increases in the cost of supplies, salaries and other expenses,” says Larry Lee, UHD’s chief financial officer.

A 5 percent increase is part of the 2011 budget approved by UHD’s board of directors on Tuesday.

During his presentation, Lee called the budget the hospital district’s “blueprint” for the coming year.

“It’s a very detailed plan of what we want to accomplish,” he says.

For this year, patient gross revenue was projected at nearly $40 million when the budget was approved a year ago.

For 2011, gross revenue is estimated at $42.8 million.

On the expense side, next year’s total operating expenses are expected to be $26.4 million, up from this year’s $24.4 million.

Net income has been budgeted to go up in 2011.

This year it was projected to be $1.345 million, compared to next year’s $1.429 million, or a 6.25 percent increase.

The budget also calls for more to be spent on capital outlay.

Requests for 2011 total $1.563 million. That’s up from the nearly $800,000 set aside for this year.

The board went into closed-session to discuss the sale of the old adolescent treatment center building to the owners of Parker Oaks nursing home.

UHD administrator Jeff Lang says he and Parker Oaks officials are working on a triple-net lease agreement which contains a purchase clause.

“Parker Oaks will pay all the expenses of utilities, maintenance and property taxes. The hospital has virtually no costs associated with the building as long as they are in it,” says Lang.

The owners of Parker Oaks, Jim and Kathy Birchem of Little Falls are planning to use the nearly 14,000-square-foot building for an assisted-living facility for 10 to 12 military veterans.

Jim Birchem has said in the past their goal is to have the home for veterans open by the first of the year.

The Birchems operate 30 nursing homes in Minnesota under their company ElderCare. Ten of the homes are skilled-level operations, while the rest are assisted-living units.