South Central Kansas Medical Center personnel provided a financial update during a City Commission of Arkansas City meeting Nov. 7.

South Central Kansas Medical Center

Photo by Jeni McGee

SCKMC Chief Financial Officer Holly Harper was on hand to provide a look at some of the September and October numbers.

Harper said the average daily census dipped in September, due to a drop-off in the Senior Health Unit, but was back on track for October.

“You can see the dip, our first actual dip for 2017,” Harper said. “I did want you to see that there was a dip, but we’re back up.”

Commissioner Jay Warren asked what caused the dip in the Senior Health Unit census.

“It’s just one of those things that snuck up on us,” said SCKMC Chief Executive Officer Virgil Watson.

“We had some problems with our marketing. We kind of got out of focus of our main goal of staying above eight patients a day. It happens. This is the first real dip we’ve taken in our Senior Health Unit. But we’re back on focus and stabilized.”

Watson alluded to a changeover in staff as another reason the dip in census happened.

“Nursing is a problem for everybody. The pool is real small. It’s something that will always be a problem in this area,” he said.

Boosting revenues

Harper reiterated the hospital will see increased revenue through the 340B pharmacy program, which will be instituted at Winfield Medical Arts in April 2018.

In addition to multiple programs instituted since Watson’s arrival at SCKMC in January 2015, Harper informed the commission about SCKMC’s new partnership with CPSI TruBridge, which will help the hospital to manage its accounts receivable (AR) better.

“TruBridge is coming in to revamp best practices from the ground up,” she said.

Some of the pending AR will be able to be billed at a higher level for some insurance companies. However, it will remain the same for some claims in AR.

“Most insurances will only go back a year,” Harper said.

The new partnership will start Jan. 1, 2018. “I’m excited for that,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a huge change for us in a positive way.”

Harper said that on average, the assistance is able to help hospitals to bring in an additional 13 percent of their payments that are due.

“We’re talking potentially $1 million dollars, (but) I hate to say that because I’m a conservative person,” Harper said.

“What’s the average (return)?” Warren asked. “As early as 14 days,” Harper replied.

Commissioner Duane Oestmann asked if the hospital had not been involved with TruBridge prior to this.

Harper said SCKMC has been doing business with TruBridge for a while as just a vendor, not a consultant. It purchased a software used by TruBridge this year.

“This is them coming in with their expertise,” Harper said. “In January, we started with their software. We didn’t have their expertise.

“They work with a lot of small hospitals all over the nation.”