Hospital still open for business

Despite the rumors that the hospital is closed, the new administrator John Hales said, "The Bamberg County Hospital is open for business, and doing x-rays, lab work, and out-patient care. There is no reason to go anywhere else, citizens can get medical care in their hometown."

The Bamberg County Memorial Hospital had a “lot larger than normal” revenue decrease because of “three times the amount” of bad debt this month charged as a write off for it financials, new hospital administrator John Hales told board members at their August meeting held in the BCMH administrative conference room.

The hospital had been averaging around $200,000 per month in bad debt in previous years and year-to-date and $36,000 in June. But following a Recovery Auditing Contracting (RAC) audit, implemented by the federal government several years ago (which assumes that every hospital in the country has been over paid in Medicare funds) the BCMH took a onetime $601,000 bad debt write off, which was not a true cash deduction.

“We’re saying sometime in the future we won’t be able to collect this money,” Hales said, adding the money is not counted as a receivable anymore, “it’s best to write it off now, it’s the proper way to do it.” As a result of the bad debt write off the hospital had net revenues for the month of $438,027 which is a decrease from the $700,000 to $800,000 typically taken in.

On the expense side because of the July 31, layoffs and reduction in force as of July 28 the hospital’s payroll numbers and expenses have gone down “substantially” to $853,262 in total expenses for the month in July, compared to $1.2 million in June and $978,000 in May. It was also noted that figures for the reduction in force would not be seen until the August statements come out.

If not for the $601,000 bad debt write off the hospital would have realized “a small positive or near breakeven month.” Instead the hospital experienced a $384,542 loss for the month. As of the first 10 months of this year the hospital has experienced a $2.8 million loss.

Hospital board chair Dr. Danette McAlhaney noted that the hospital has not used any of the $500,000 Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) authorized by Bamberg County Council.