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Record revenues at medical center in July

The Pagosa Springs Medical Center had a record revenue month in July.

The total net patient revenue for the month of July was $1.06 million, which is $92,000 more than what PSMC had budgeted.

Prior to July, June 2011 had been the best revenue month, with a total of $934,645 total net patient revenue.

July’s increase could be attributed first to the increase in revenue produced by professional fees (79 percent higher than budgeted) and second to the increase in emergency room and ambulance revenues.

The increase in professional fees is contributed to the fact that Dr. Dave Shaeffer and Dr. Rick Zak completed a combined total of 38 colonoscopies in July.

The breakthrough month was announced by Chief Financial Officer Dennis Wilson on speaker phone during Tuesday night’s Upper San Juan Health District board meeting.

Though the total net patient revenue sets a record, the non-operating income for the year-to-date is under budget by a total of 14 percent, from $1.8 million to $1.58 million. The difference is mainly due to grants and donations being under budget by $126,959.

Medical center CEO Brad Cochennet, along with Wilson, assured board members that, though the amount of funding from grants and donations is currently low, within the next two months PSMC is expected to receive around $220,000 in grant money.

Conversation at the meeting also turned toward the possibility of the USJHD pursuing a mammography unit. Cochennet informed the board that Turning Point (a national initiative whose goal is to improve public health by making it community based) has agreed to do a mammography and bone density business plan, for free.

“It’s going to be tough competition,” said board director James Pruitt referring to the new mammography center at Mercy Medical. “The women who go there (Mercy Medical) love it,” he said.

Cochennet said that he hopes, if PSMC moves forward with the mammography plan, the equipment would come from donations.

Board director Michelle Visel mentioned a grant discussion in last month’s minutes. At last month’s meeting, board director Jim Knoll requested that chairman Townsend recommend that the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation raise money for mammography equipment.

“This is putting the cart in front of the horse,” said Visel. She said that if this was indeed the direction the USJHD wished to go, the matter must first be put to a vote.

Knoll agreed with Visel and apologized for his previous presumption. Board chairman Townsend also agreed, and said he would take care of the matter, though no motion was made, and no was vote taken.

Also at the meeting, chief of staff Dr. Nick Kurz reported to the board on behalf of the staff that space is tight, saying staff continues to become more confined as more health care providers are welcomed to the facility. He added, however, that at the moment there are no red flags. Two rooms are being converted into exam rooms and should be completed shortly.

This summer’s implementation of Saturday Urgent Care service has shown results. “It’s random; you never know when patients are going to show up,” Kurz said. The statistics show 10 to 19 patients per Saturday, with no need to expand the hours at the moment.

By recommendation of Clinic Medical Director Dr. Terry Sutherfield, the PSMC has implemented a “walk-in” program. Every Monday through Thursday, one of the four healthcare providers on duty is designated the “walk-in” physician. This person has few appointments and concentrates that day on treating walk-in patients. According to Kurz, for the past few weeks this program has been effective in allowing the rest of the staff to treat patients in a timely manner without neglecting the walk-in patients.

Kurz also said that, in preparation for the flu season, provider and staff schedules will be slightly rearranged to have a crew able to treat people after school or work, until 7 or 8 p.m.

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