Skiff Medical Center ends fiscal year in the black, provides $3.4M in community benefits
“We’re celebrating the fact that we had a great year, but at the same time we fully understand how we got here.”
Skiff Medical Center CEO Steve Long is a pretty happy guy these days, noting the Newton hospital ended a fiscal year with a positive fund balance for the first time since 2007. But he’s also quick to point out Skiff ended the year in the black based almost entirely on a provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act and federal stimulus money.
Skiff is one of 26 hospitals in 11 states selected to participate in a Medicare demonstration program, through which it receives full reimbursement for all Medicare-covered care it provides. Prior to joining the five-year demonstration program, it received just 89 cents for every dollar of service it provided.
“Our census numbers used to be 12 to 15 patients per day, now we’re up to more than 25,” Long said. “Patients know they can stay locally now and get great care.”
Skiff Chief Financial Officer Mike Anderson noted this year’s positive ending balance ended approximately $9.3 million in operational losses since 2007. In the past two years, the administration and staff have focused on a number of “R” words, including “reinvestment,” “reinvention,” “reshape,” “reimburse” and “repurpose.”
The end result was a $1,059,000 increase in total revenue over expense from the previous fiscal year. It also resulted 15.7-percent increase in inpatient census, a 4.8-percent increase in outpatient services, and a 4-percent increase in emergency room visits.
The biggest reinvestment in infrastructure has been the upgraded Phillips Imaging Center at Skiff Medical Center. A public-private partnership with Phillips, the maker of state-of-the-art imaging equipment, such as CT scanners and MRI machines, the imaging center is a demonstration facility that has made Skiff the premiere imaging center in the Upper Midwest.
“We were able to fund these improvements using the stimulus money given to us for electronic medical records,” Long said. “We already had them, so we were able to re-purpose that money to pay for the other improvements.”
The stimulus funds, which come in two installments, will not be available to the hospital in the current fiscal year that began July 1. As a result, Long said Skiff will refrain from any large-scale projects for a year while keeping its costs in check.
“We had a tremendous year, and had an opportunity to reinvest in ourselves,” he said. “But we’re still dependent upon government money. Were it not for those programs, we couldn’t survive. But, they did provide a window of opportunity that will allow us to make the necessary changes for our long-term health.”
Meanwhile, the Iowa Hospital Association recently released a report that showed Skiff Medical Center imparts a nearly $3,389,000 in community benefits to Jasper County. Community benefits are “activities designed to improve health status and increase access to health care.”
In addition to uncompensated care, community benefits include both charity care and bad debt. Other community benefits include health screenings, support groups, counseling, immunizations, nutritional services and transportation programs.
Bob Eschliman can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 423 or via email at email@example.com.