At the July board of directors’ budget and finance committee meeting it was announced that, for the first time in three years, the Fort Oglethorpe hospital made a profit during the month of July.
The hospital has lost nearly $10 million since November 2011, the beginning of its budget year, and even more during its previous budget year.
Hospital leaders were notably cautious about the fiscal state for July, but optimistic none-the-less.
July’s earnings were $82,476, while the loss of $121,852 in July was quite a bit lower than the projected loss of $364,541. July 2012 reflects a $1.62 million improvement over the hospital’s July 2011 financial report.
This continues a trend, as last month Hutcheson had a $1.1 million improvement over June 2011. July marks three consecutive months of improved fiscal reporting.
Factors contributing to the gain included an increased hospital census — up 42 percent over last year. Improvements to key service lines, such as labor/delivery and surgeries, also contributed to the better-than-expected showing.
Hospital births were up in July by 43 percent compared to 2011, while total surgeries were up 18 percent over last month and by 29 percent over July 2011.
Hospital officials also pointed to a higher case index, which means the facility treated patients of a more serious nature, along with a diligent focus on cost controls, as further reasons for the improvement. This marks the first time in more than three years that Hutcheson has attained positive financials from its operations.
While there were losses in the physician clinics, these were due to employment and startup expenses not originally included in the fiscal 2012 budget. “We are actively recruiting and hiring new physicians and medical providers,” said Roger Forgey, president and CEO of Erlanger at Hutcheson.
“The global net was a $121,000 loss for the system, which was substantially lower than expected despite the fact that physician startup expenses were not budgeted. We expect to see hospital revenues stabilize as a result of these additional services and are very pleased with our progress thus far, especially with our positive earnings from operations of over $82,000.”
Forgey said Hutcheson has employed four outpatient medical providers since March. An additional provider, a pulmonologist, is slated to join the staff on Nov. 1.