Hospital Board Requests New Contract with Mercy Health
The Claiborne County Hospital Board met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 20. After review and approval of the December meeting minutes, the board heard the financial report for the previous month. Despite an increase in volumes and gross revenue, hospital operations lost just under $12,000 for the month. The hospitals loss was partially offset by positive revenue flows in the nursing home, home health care and emergency services. Losses accrued by the employed physicians were smaller than expected.
A significant amount of loss resulted from recent changes by many insurance companies that expanded the number of procedures that required pre-certification. Payments for the procedures which now require pre-certifications were denied.
Hospital administrators spent much of January evaluating how often the software that tracks changes should be updated and the accuracy of the last update. Several other administrative procedures related to the speed at which bills are processed are also being evaluated as well as administrative staffing levels during the holidays.
Mercy Health Partners (who are still pursuing an expanded management agreement with the hospital) volunteered to send an specialist in insurance billing and the accounts receivable process to assist the hospital with their analysis. When asked if a 50/50 risk sharing agreement would result in MHP writing a check for half of the December losses, the answer was “yes” under the proposed agreement.
As requested during the previous week’s workshop, Mercy Health Partners provided board members with a proposed agreement that included the 50/50 risk agreement and an option by which Claiborne County could enter into a lease/purchase arrangement with Mercy. After much discussion, the board decided to not take any action on the proposed agreement and to request that MHP consider a new agreement that is essentially identical to the current agreement that expires this summer. MHP agreed to provide a new contract without the controversial new issues for review during the coming month.
The board agreed to continue to monitor developments (proposed medical facilities that will compete with Claiborne County Hospital) at the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine and national health care reform efforts.
In other business, the board voted to approve funds for major roof repairs contingent upon the public bidding process and review of a new conflicts of interests and disclosure statement now required by the Office of the Inspector General for medical services.