Hospital Board gets big news

Knox Hospital Board members hold their monthly meeting.
Knox Hospital Board members hold their monthly meeting.

By Jay Nolan

The Knox County Hospital’s financial health is stabilizing, and its prognosis is improving.

That is the message the hospital board received during its meeting Monday. Reports showed the hospital booked a huge $290,311 profit for the month of October. And, according to Gregg Britt, the health care management consultant hired by the board, the hospital’s future outlook is now more positive.

“We are rapidly approaching breakeven from a cash flow prospective.” Britt told the board, adding: “Now, we are getting properly reimbursed from Medicare and Medicaid.” It was back payments from those agencies arriving in October that pushed the hospital’s monthly financials well into the black.

Staff also reported that funds are available to make the required payments on the hospital’s outstanding debts. Plus, they mentioned the board action to collect money patients owed to the hospital has helped improve the bottom line.

Judge-Executive and board chair J.M. Hall announced the hospital has been approved for a grant from the Federal Government’s Department of the USDA to remove old carpet and put some new carpet in part of the hospital.

The board also got a report about continuing problems with the hospital’s CSS software system. The company still has not been able to fix multiple problems and bugs the hospital is having with the system, board members were told. Board member Bob Mitchell asked about payments to the company. He was assured that until the problems were fixed, CSS was not being paid.

Hospital administrator Ray Canady reported that since the hospital now has state approval in hand, he hopes to have MRI services available to offer patients in January. Canady also updated the board on improving situations in the Emergency Room. (ER). – “We usually average 56 people per month leaving the ER without or against medical advice (AMA.) Now we are down to 38 leaving AMA,” he reported. Canady credited staff efforts to provide better service for the improvements. Canady also announced that the hospital will soon begin conducting follow up interviews with all ER patients, just as it currently does for those admitted to the hospital. “We want to get people in and out as fast as we can, and make sure they are treated properly.” Canady told the board.

The Knox Hospital is owned by the taxpayers of Knox County, and has been under the management of a local board of governors for over two years. Their next meeting is Jan. 5, 2015.