Samaritan Healthcare turns a profit in August

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MOSES LAKE — More doctors and medical professionals at Samaritan Healthcare helped boost the hospital’s bottom line in August.

“August was a really great month,” said chief financial officer Alex Town. The hospital and clinic finished August with $221,342 in operating income. That’s what’s left after all income is added up and expenses are subtracted. For 2017 through the end of August, Samaritan generated $637,500 in operating income.

Net revenue (before all the bills and some income are added up) was $547,369 for August and $2,936,599 for 2017 to date.

The number of patients visiting Samaritan Clinic for primary care increased by about 17 percent over the same period in 2016, Town said. “You have a lot more (medical) providers employed this year, as compared to previous years.”

More doctors, physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners at the clinic will have an impact on hospital utilization, Town said. “It will drive your hospital. As we increase our provider panel, you’ll see an increase in all your other services.”

Inpatient revenue rose in August, mostly driven by an increase in obstetrics admissions. They were up 3.3 percent when compared to August 2016. Obstetrics admissions are also up through the year to date; so are medical and surgical admissions, he said.

Outpatient surgical cases were up in August 2017, driven by an increase in orthopedic patients. However, they were below the number of patients in August 2016 and below the budget targets for 2017.

But more patients requires more doctors, nurses and other personnel, and that means expenses are higher. “Your temporary staff is truly what’s impacting the organization.” More patients have meant more overtime and more people hired on a temporary basis. That included temporary doctors in the emergency room, both in August and for 2017 to date, Town said. “That is a challenge for every organization,” he said. Supply costs were over budget targets also.

The hospital has hired a physician’s assistant for the ER, said chief nursing officer Becky DeMers, and eight nurses were hired recently.

Total expenses were 6.6 percent over August 2016, and 3.5 percent over budget targets for 2017 to date, Town said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at education@columbiabasinherald.com.

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