South Central Kansas Medical Center’s interim chief executive officer, Arkansas City native Jeff Bowman, provided three of five members of the SCKMC Board of Trustees with updates about several ongoing, hot-button topics during their Sept. 11 regular meeting.

Interim SCKMC CEO Jeff Bowman

Bowman

Those topics included the contract with Winfield Medical Arts (WMA); the ongoing billing audit currently being performed by his other company, TransWise, LLC; and SCKMC’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The first item in Bowman’s executive report was a quick update regarding 2017 emergency room (ER) data.

In 2017, there were 7,342 visits to the ER. Of those, 2,413 were patients who were uninsured or have bills that have remained uncollected.

The total dollar value of those visits totals around $571,000, he said.

SCKMC billing concerns

Bowman also shared the top 15 reasons that billing has been rejected, hospital-wide.

The No. 4 reason that claims from SCKMC have been rejected is due to failure to file claims in a timely manner.

“It’s a totally preventable area,” Bowman said. “That’s an area I’m diving into already. I would expect those numbers to be better (since SCKMC contracted out its billing work to CPSI TruBridge), but I’m just not seeing it.”

Board treasurer Jay Warren asked if SCKMC’s billing issues are high or low in comparison to other rural hospitals of a similar size.

The overall receipts are lower than what he expected to see, Bowman replied. In fact, he added, if WMA and South Central Kansas Clinic were to switch to TransWise — the Texas company for which he also acts as chief executive officer — the cost of billing would be 25 percent lower.

If SCKMC itself were to switch to TransWise, there potentially would be 33 percent less spent on billing.

“There’s definitely opportunities. I just have to figure out how to get out of contracts with no out clauses,” Bowman said.

“I’ve never walked into a situation where a contract doesn’t at least have a 90-day (cancellation clause). We signed three-year, five-year agreements with no outs. It’s beyond me.”

Winfield Medical Arts

One such contract with no out clause is the one signed about a year ago with Winfield Medical Arts.

SCKMC currently is losing about $100,000 each month due to its agreement with WMA, while only gaining $24,000 in billable services from referrals to the hospital.

There is one WMA provider, who was not named during the meeting, who has not referred any patients to SCKMC at all, Bowman reported.

However, SCKMC can not demand or coerce any doctor to refer services to the hospital if he or she does not want to do so.

In addition to all of the contract review that is in progress, a contractor also will be on site soon to give a quote to SCKMC for the cost of converting two rooms to dedicated ICU rooms.

Bowman expressed confusion as to why the ICU rooms had been converted into the new obstetrics unit in the first place.

“If OB hadn’t been switched, we could be doing 300-plus babies per year,” he said.

EMTALA bullet dodged

Finally, word has been received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about the EMTALA violation that occurred earlier this summer when a young woman suffering from ketoacidosis was turned away from the ER.

“CMS outlines the five general requirements of the corrective plan of action, and we had to address each section with our detailed resolution and timelines,” Bowman said.

As of Sept. 10, CMS had approved the plan from SCKMC to correct the underlying issues that caused the violation.

The first phase of correction involves putting into place a backup server with 24-7 monitoring. Phase two and three are yet to be announced.

It does not appear at this time that SCKMC will receive any kind of financial penalty from the federal government.

In other business, the trustees:

  • heard miscellaneous reports from Bowman.
  • approved an amended contract for Bowman.
  • authorized band signature cards for new chief financial officer LaDona Anstine.

Board chair Dan Jurkovich and board secretary Duane Oestmann were not present at the meeting.