No financial report for the month of June or the fiscal year ending June 31 was available at the Erlanger budget and finance committee meeting Monday afternoon. Both will be released once the audit has been completed which should be done by the next board meeting.
At the Erlanger Hutcheson finance committee meeting earlier Monday, it was announced that the June loss was $171,000.
That is the closest the Fort Oglethorpe hospital has come to breaking even in a number of months.
New business discussed at the meeting involved for the most part resolutions to foster continued growth for the hospital and the ability to maintain and meet the needs of the community that it serves.
Phase II of Erlanger’s multi phase plan to expand the children’s outpatient surgical area at TC Thompson was approved. This phase of the project is an expansion of the Children’s Post Anesthesia Care Unit where the patient receives recovery care after surgery.
The hospital has seen a 76 percent increase in volume of outpatients for procedures in this unit over the past five years. Because of the large volume of patients with short procedure times, the need for recovery space exceeds the six beds that now exist. This new plan will expand the capacity to 15 beds to alleviate the delays and back-ups in the operating room and the scheduling problems that causes. Included in the cost estimate for Phase II, is the creation of the shell for two new Operating Rooms which will be done in the third and final phase of the surgical expansion project. The cost will not exceed $1,804,176 and has been budgeted for the fiscal year 2012-2013. The project should be completed in six months or less.
The board of trustees also approved the addition of two physicians in the hospital’s strategic plan. An analysis done by management determined there is a need for a physician with specialty training in Hematology/Oncology to fill an immediate need. In a recruitment agreement, Rajni Sinha, M.D. will join University Oncology/Hematology. She comes from Emory University where she is an assistant professor in that specialty. The contract is for 12 months and specifies the portion of the annual salary guaranteed is $400,000, with a $40,000 sign-on bonus and relocation reimbursement of $12,000. The recruitment cost of $357,500 will also be provided as part of the agreement. Dr. Sinha will begin employment on Jan. 1, 2013.
Interim President and CEO Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson presented a resolution to execute a contract between Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority, University Surgical Associates and Darren Hunt, M.D. for a Trauma/Critical Care Surgeon. There are currently five surgeons that specialize in Trauma/Critical care at Erlanger. This will fulfill the plan for succession of one physician over the next two years.
Dr. Hunt is a recent graduate of the Erlanger surgical residency program and in his agreement; Erlanger Health System will provide a monthly payment of $3,000 during the two year course of study and training for Trauma/Critical Care Surgery. The term of his agreement is for 36 months, with a salary of $400,000 for one year beginning August 2014 after his two years of additional education is completed. The contract also allows for a sign-on bonus of $20,000, moving expenses of $20,000 and practice support for up to $159,112 for one year.
Ms Woodard-Thompson told the board that the 2013 budget that was passed last month provided no funds for salary increases and employees had received no raises since 2010. She said the employees had been very loyal during this time, and she would like to show them “that we have a plan”.
That plan is when money begins coming in and going to the bottom line, she would like to share the gains between the employees and the hospital. She said there is no exact formula for doing this, but the attempt will be made to use the funds where most appropriate. One comment that was made about the plan was that just because there are financial improvements and cost savings, it still doesn’t mean that the hospital is in a healthy position. It was emphasized that any change must be sustainable, and that the financial people will have to verify the results. It must be a long term, not just a one time savings.
Ms. Woodard-Thompson said this was a team approach to creating success at the hospital. The theory, she said, is “that we will take care of you first if you help us.” The employees will help to get the projects underway, and when Price Waterhouse confirms it then action will be taken.
This motion was unanimously approved.