Samaritan finishes the first half of 2018 with a profit

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MOSES LAKE — The first half of 2018 has been a profitable one for Samaritan Healthcare. Net income was $2,314,446 for the first six months of 2018.

Net income for June alone was $381,026. “What we saw for June was actually a drop in the medical admits,” said chief financial officer Alex Town. “But year to date we’re still up as far as medical admits, especially OB (obstetrics) and surgical (inpatient cases).”

“Surgical admits are doing really well for the year,” Town said. Outpatient revenue is about in line with budget projections, he said, but outpatient usage is projected to increase in the fall.

Samaritan Clinic revenues are 13.4 percent above the budget projection for the year, and were 15.7 percent above budget in June. Town attributed that to more doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.

But expenses were up also. Expenses were 2 percent above budget in June, and are up 2.4 percent for the year. Town said operating revenue is up 5.4 percent for the year.

Even as costs have increased, “the (hospital departments) have done an exceptional job watching their expenses,” Town said. One of the reasons for increased expenses is the need for temporary help during times when there are many patients in the hospital. Staffing, especially among nurses, has been a subject of discussion for months among hospital officials and commissioners. “I know we have (hired) 16 new nurses,” Town said. New employees undergo a period of orientation before joining the staff full time, and not all new hires have completed it yet. But “hopefully this fall that (the increased staffing) will really help our expenses.”

Bad debt and charity care, or uncompensated care, was $2,935,473 through the end of June. “We are on track to provide $5.8 million (in uncompensated care) and it would not surprise me if we were to exceed $6 million for the year,” Town said. That’s also part of increased patient volumes, he said.

As a public hospital district Samaritan collects a tax levy, and for 2018 the levy will be about $2.3 million, he said.

Samaritan rebounded from an operating income loss in May, back to an operating income profit in June, finishing with $139,236 in operating income for the month.

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

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