Erlanger tightens midyear losses

Erlanger tightens midyear losses

January 22nd, 2013 by Kate Harrison Belz in Local Regional News

An ambulance pulls into Erlanger's emergency room entrance in this file photo.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

CLOSED MEETING

After Monday's budget and finance meeting, the Erlanger board of trustees convened for a closed meeting to discuss the search for a new CEO.

According to the board's legal notice, the meeting would be a closed strategy session regarding the CEO and that "no deliberation or vote will occur during the meeting."

The meeting comes one week after every member of Hamilton County's legislative delegation signed a letter urging the board to slow its CEO search.

Legislators want the decision put on hold because the delegation is crafting legislation amending Erlanger Health System's governance.

Halfway through Erlanger Health System's fiscal year, the hospital has posted $2.5 million in losses - a significant improvement from Erlanger's grim financial status at this time last year, at which point the hospital had lost $10.3 million.

Despite the positive development, the hospital chalked up a $1.1 million loss in December, with a drop in inpatient surgeries during the month driving a large part of the deficit.

Adam Royer, associate administrator for Erlanger Medical Center, explained that the downturn in surgeries could be attributed to the departure of several physicians who have not been replaced, and to Christmas being held on a Tuesday, meaning more doctors took an entire week off during the holiday instead of half a week.

"In order to have full disclosure -- they started down before the holiday," interjected interim president and CEO Charlesetta Woodard-Thompson.

Chief Financial Officer Britt Tabor said inpatient surgeries were tracking to be at or above budget for January.

Gains at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital helped buoy the month's financial status, along with boosts from the hospital's neo-natal intensive care unit and emergency department.

"It's an improvement from last year, but not where we want to be from a budget standpoint," said Tabor.

During December last year, the hospital had posted a loss of $3.9 million.

Erlanger provided more than $39 million in uncompensated care last month.

In other business, the hospital's Budget and Finance Committee agreed to move forward a resolution to spend $2.39 million to add another endovascular operating suite to accommodate larger surgical equipment.

"We are really, really excited. This is bringing some people back to our campus," said Woodward-Thompson.

Board members will vote whether to approve the spending during Thursday's board meeting.