With volumes down, especially in surgeries, Erlanger Health System registered a $906,000 loss in September.
It was better than last September's $1.3 million loss, but the hospital had budgeted to make $636,000 for the month.
Admissions were under budget by 1.7 percent and over the previous year by 1.9 percent.
After a big jump in the cardiac unit for the previous month, September cath lab procedures were under budget by 44.
Surgical inpatients were 10.3 percent under budget and surgical outpatients 15 percent under budget.
Orthopedic inpatient surgeries were under budget by 11.2 percent.
Neurosurgery inpatient surgeries were under budget by 23 percent.
At the monthly finance committee meeting, trustees expressed concern about lagging numbers for the LifeForce helicopter program. Erlanger no longer owns LifeForce, but has a contract with the private firm it sold it to.
Helicopter flights were 29.8 percent under budget and 30.1 percent less than the prior year.
Officials said Erlanger is seeing increasing encroachment in its former service area from Grady Hospital to the south and Vanderbilt Hospital to the north.
CEO Charlsetta Woodard-Thompson gave this assessment of the meeting to employees:
CFO Britt Tabor reported that Erlanger posted a $900,000 loss last month, compared to a loss of almost $1.3 million last September. This puts Erlanger’s losses for our first quarter at $662,000, nearly half the loss posted for the first quarter of last fiscal year.
Mr. Tabor also reported, just three months into our fiscal year, Erlanger has already provided more than $21.3 million in health care services to our community as part of our corporate social responsibility - far more than any other area healthcare provider.
Total admissions were only 1.7% under budget for the month and over the previous year by almost 2%. Even though Erlanger’s September admissions didn’t vary significantly from our budget, our length of stay increased by 6.8%. Admissions to the Baroness Campus were .08% less than budgeted, and admissions at Children’s Hospital were 2.5% over budget in September.
Bad debt and charity care as a percentage of gross patient revenue was 9.95%, less than the projected 10.57%, and Erlanger saw a 2.5% increase in commercial pay patients in September.
Emergency room visits were 3.4% over budget in September and 7.5% higher than last year.
Surgical inpatient volume was 10% under budget, 2.6% less than last year, and Erlanger’s surgical mix was 30% for the month. However, cardiac cases, open heart procedures and general vascular surgery were up significantly, in addition to urological surgical cases.
Surgical outpatient volumes were 15% under budget. This decline in outpatient surgical volume was due to a significant number of surgeons who were out of town in September, and a general slowdown in elective cases this time of year.
Cardiac cath procedures were under budget by 44%.
Helicopter patients were 29.8% under budget last month, with 74 air ambulance flights missed due to weather. Despite fewer than predicted flight transports, Erlanger experienced an increase in ground ambulance traffic from neighboring counties.
Paid FTE’s per adjusted occupied bed was 5.46 compared to a budgeted 5.40.
Mr. Tabor commended the staff for keeping supplies and drug costs (per adjusted admission) well below monthly projections at $1,474.