By BROCK HIRES

The Chronicle

OMAK — Mid-Valley Hospital Chief Financial Officer Holly Stanley outlined the district’s 2018 preliminary budget during a regular board meeting Oct. 24.

According to preliminary budget figures, patient revenue totals in 2018 are budgeted at $64.48 million and net operating revenue totals are estimated at $29.43 million.

“We took a very, very conservative approach,” CEO Alan Fisher said.

Stanley said next year’s budget indicates a $485,652 loss, down from this year’s annualized loss at $703,698.

“We are not increasing rates in 2018,” she said, adding an outside accounting firm eventually will help the district with strategic pricing analysis. “One of the big changes that’s still on the budget is the ERx.”

According to the company’s website, ERx specializes in providing quality, compassionate emergency medicine, inpatient services and urgent care through independent contractor physicians.

Other preliminary figures indicate salary totals to top $14.49 million, down from this year’s budgeted total of $15.65 million, and an increase of employee benefits by $4,953.

In other financial business, Stanley reported inpatient revenues were up last month to nearly $1.57 million, outpatient revenue was $3.8 million, and net patient revenue was $2.18 million.

“Statistically, we saw an increase in inpatient days and ER (emergency room) visits,” Stanley said. “Surgeries were down last month but better than the month before.”

Stanley said the Public Hospital District Worker’s Compensation Trust and Unemployment Compensation Trust each declared dividends totaling $176,988.

During the new business portion of the meeting, Commissioner Yusuf Quidwai brought up the topic of the district’s decision to move forward with the ERx program.

He said he was invited to a meeting with hospital employees, outlining the district’s plans to save nearly $400,000 next year by using the service.

He said 43 employees were present at the meeting and were concerned employees would be losing their jobs.

“The question (employees were asking) was, ‘Why are you letting so many people go,’” Quidwai said. “That was the concern, because they were losing their jobs.”

Commissioner Evon LaGrou said was not the case.

“They’re not losing their jobs,” she said.

Fisher said the only employees who would lose their jobs are two nurse practitioners, and the current emergency room doctors can enroll to become independent contractors for ERx.

In other hospital business, commissioners:

• Approved $81,986 in health care assistance program; $189,702 in bad debt; $2.3 million in general fund accounts payable; $12,857 in limited-tax general obligation in accounts payable; and $65,656.17 in public relation vouchers.

• Agreed to open a position for Mid-Valley Clinic population nurse and project manager. The position will be funded through a grant.

Commissioners will meet again at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in Family Medicine Building, 810 Jasmine St.

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