Audit looks favorable to hospital

Robert Blackford/Editor

The Mercer County Board's finance committee got to peek at the auditor's report and the cost report Nov. 10 before the full board got a look on Nov. 17.

For the most part this puts last year in the books," said hospital administrator Tim Putnam.

Medicare will approve the audit in a few years. Putnam said there were provisions in this year's audit dealing with a Medicare settlement three or four years back. "We always reserve a fund for some thing Medicare finds later," said Putnam. This year the board reserved $75,000 for that.

Putnam said the bottom line is the hospital lost $113,000 in the fiscal year ending in June of 2008. That is a substantial improvement from the $490,000 the they board reported at the end of the fiscal year in June.

Putnam said, "Every year we are up and down with our estimates. What Medicare pays monthly is based on an estimate. At the end of the fiscal year there is always a settlement that represents the true cost. This year the settlement was in our favor."

Putnam said the hospital would receive a lump sum payment from Medicare of $211,000 in the next two months.

Putnam said the audit showed what they already knew to be true, that its accounts receivable days were too high. "We've made significant improvement over the last year and still we have to improve."

At its highest the hospital's gross accounts receivable days were at 150. It was at 100 days at the close of September. By June the hospital hopes to be at 84 which is normal. The hospital's average daily revenue is $40,000.