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UHD rates up 5% again

By Staff | Dec 11, 2011

Larry Lee

This year hasn’t been a good one financially for United Hospital District.

But, adminstration officials are hopeful changes proposed for next year result in a better performance.

On Tuesday, board members approved a 2012 operating budget that projects a total patient care revenue of $43.9 million. Once deductions are taken, total revenue is expected to be $26.752 million.

“We have spent a lot of time with the budget to accurately portray what will happen in 2012,” says Larry Lee, UHD chief financial officer.

The budget calls for another 5 percent increase for all medical services.

It’s the fourth straight year UHD?has increased its rates by that amount.

“If people didn’t increase costs, we could hold that. We are being fairly conservative with our budget,” Lee says.

Other increases are a 10 percent hike in overall health insurance premiums and 1 to 2 percent for salaries.

Next year’s budget projects a total net income of $781,891.

Board members received some gloomy news on how the district performed financially in October.

The district had a loss of $195,153, bringing the year-to-date net income loss to $487,444.

A report handed out by Lee shows net income a year ago was $1.121 million.

“It’s important to remember we invested $20 million in projects to help the organization grow,” says Lee in referring to the construction projects.

Lee says each department was asked to justify expenditures so the board would receive the most accurate budget projection.

Board member Larry Anderson asked Lee if he saw “a light at the end of the tunnel” following last month.

“It’s a big light and it’s not a train. November is very strong” says Lee. Administrator Jeff Lang told the board a $300,977 refund from SISU Medical Solutions will help the district’s net income for this year.

UHD has taken some steps to generate more revenue such as filling a general surgeon position and hiring an orthopaedic and an ear/nose/throat specialist and certified allergist.

“We have been waiting for things we have put into place to take action. It’s taken a little time, but we’re seeing it,” Lang says.

UHD?officials are stopping in trying to improve the quality of care and specialty services offered.

A 2012 operating plan approved by the board includes strengthening the OB/GYN and outreach urology programs, recruiting a family practice physician after Jan. 1 and the availability of chemotherapy treatments.

The board also approved a list of capital expenditures totaling $1.4 million.

“We will still bring these things to the board individually for approval,” says Lee.