Hospital records loss

Low patient volume has resulted in the Bamberg County Memorial Hospital experiencing its third consecutive month of losses. “I wish I had better news to tell you,” hospital administrator Carl Menist told board members at their September meeting. Menist stated that low patient volume continues to be a problem experienced by other hospitals as well in the low country area the last few months.

Because of the reduction in patient volume, the hospital’s average daily census went from 11.5 in July (347 days) to 9.93 in August (290 days) for a decrease of 14 percent in average daily census. Laboratory procedures were down seven percent from 5,958 to 5,498 over the time frame, while radiological procedures held steady at 2,926 to 2,923. Operating room procedures were down three percent from 988 to 983, while surgeries went up four percent from July to August.

All said revenue for the hospital remained “very flat” down to $2.987 million in August from $3 million in July. Net revenues for the hospital were down from $1.585 million in July to $1.566 million in August. On the positive side expenses were $36,000 less than July for total expenses of $1.593 million which resulted in a $26,000 loss for the month.

For the year the hospital has shown a profit of $521,000. While not expressing alarm at the three consecutive months of losses Menist stated that the administration is working on “options” to cut expenses further if the low patient volume persists.

• Also during the meeting in other financial matters it was reported that the hospital’s capital budget for 2010 was $344,000 and of that amount $184,688 was spent. It was reported that with $64,287 coming out of the nursing center reserve fund, the hospital only spent $120,401 of its own money leaving a balance of $223,598.74. The hospital hired a firm to “review” its financial statement and the next fiscal year’s budget should be available by next month’s meeting.

• The board gave approval to hire architectural firm L.S. 3P to do various work in the hospital. It was noted that L.S. 3P would require less architectural drawings to do work around the hospital which would reduce cost to the hospital. “Their people can work with our people,” said Finance Committee Chair Al Palmer.

• Tuesday October 19, at 10:00 a.m. was the date and time announced for the grand opening of the OB-GYN Clinic. The clinic is slated to be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays of each week.