published Friday, December 7th, 2012

Erlanger Health System posts October surplus

The Erlanger Medical Center is seen in this aerial photo.
The Erlanger Medical Center is seen in this aerial photo.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Erlanger Health System posted a nearly $730,000 surplus in October, Chief Financial Officer Britt Taber said in a budget and finance meeting Thursday night.

The health care network earned an extra $726,527 in its October operating budget, financial reports show, which is a major turnaround from a year ago. In October 2011, Erlanger posted a more than $2 million loss, spokeswoman Pat Charles said.

The financial gain comes in part because of higher than normal surgical admissions, Taber said. Thirty-four percent of Erlanger's October admissions were for surgeries, according to the report.

"We exceeded our budget, and we exceeded our prior year total," Taber said. "There's a dramatic increase which results in our surgical procedures hitting 34 percent. That is key."

In the first four months of the current fiscal year -- which started in August -- Erlanger has improved by about $3 million when compared to last year, Charles said.

Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson, Erlanger's president and CEO, recapped the year's major events and said the system's financial state has improved significantly.

"We are doing $3.2 million better now than the organization was at this time last year," she said.

Erlanger's total yearly operating expenses run around $193 million, according to the report.

The board of trustees also agreed Thursday to add two surgical operating rooms to the T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital at Erlanger. Several doctors spoke up in support of the proposed $1.4 million project.

"This system will help the nurses and myself carry out these procedures," pediatric surgeon Curt Koontz said. "It will help my team take care of the babies while I operate on them."

Woodard-Thompson said the new operating rooms are needed to meet the high demand for pediatric surgeries.

"The expansion will allow us to increase surgical capacity," she said, adding later, "We really need this to continue to accommodate patients."

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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