by Richard Uhlhorn
Lake Chelan Health is moving forward despite carrying a $1,572,727 net loss for the year. In an unaudited financial report ending on May 31, the hospital came in $768,000 under its budget.
It was noted at the Tuesday, June 29, board meeting that the facility will be hiring an experienced biller in July and adding a second biller shortly thereafter which, according to CEO George Rohrich, “will make a huge difference in our Accounts/Receivable.” Rohrich expects these hirings to cut the receivables in half which will affect the bottom line.
At the end of May, the revenue projections were $1.9 million under budget. CFO Cheryl Cornwell reported that the restricted $3 million plus cash reserves from the CARES act is still sitting in the bank, with the hospital waiting to hear if some or all of it will have to be returned to government coffers. Those funds would, if released, put the hospital in a positive financial position moving forward.
There are a lot of connotations to moving forward. According to Rohrich a Master Facility Plan is being prepared. “We will be reporting back to the board in July on what we propose for the Clinic (new location) and who is in the new hospital.” Rohrich will also give the board an auditing report and costs at the next meeting.
Chairman Mary Murphy said, “People are anxious about where they will be located.” Rohrich added that the potential of getting rid of leases is paramount. The Clinic will be moving out of its current location and will probably be relocated at the existing facility as well as the administrative staff. “We will see what space is left over,” said Rohrich. “We might be able to put a daycare here.”
The cost of physically moving the hospital to its new location will be available prior to the 2022 budget.
A number of community members have been asking when in-person meetings will begin again. Rohrich stated that the hospital is considering an in-person hybrid model which would include in-person attendance and ZOOM.
Rohrich stated he has received confusing information from the Governor’s office about in-person meetings, but hopes to have in-person meetings beginning with the July board meeting. “If we continue at the hospital, we will have to wear masks so we can listen to everyone mumble.”
Potential locations mentioned outside the hospital facility included the Senior Center, Fire Station conference room, City Hall (which has the audio infrastructure for ZOOM meetings) and the Lake Chelan School District.
The Hospital, which leases the property Heritage Heights sits on, is working on an amendment to extend its lease. “Timing is significant and we will have an amendment ready for your review and consideration for the next meeting,” said Rohrich.
Rohrich stated that there were two items of importance which includes the length of the lease and a clarification to the access road which goes through the hospital’s property. The hospital is researching and getting a legal opinion on the requests. “We need to get this moving along with what they have to do,” said Rohrich. “We may need a special meeting when an amendment is ready to discuss.”
The hospital is losing its surgeon, Dr. Joshua Schronowski, to Alaska at the end of September and Rohrich told the board that the search is on for a good orthopedic doctor who might be able to work on major joints. “We are interviewing candidates,” he said.
The hospital is planning its Strategic Planning meeting which will take place sometime in September. Two proposals for moderators are currently being considered. Jody Corona who has moderated hospital strategic planning meetings in the past and Heron Company. Both parties cost about the same with the price tag somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000.
The next strategic planning meeting will include a survey of what community members would like to see going into the future. The planning effort will cover the hospital’s service area, market share, population census data and survey considerations.
The hospital holds its board meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month beginning at 1:30 p.m. Beginning in July, there is a possibility that the meeting will be held as an in-person meeting with the ZOOM option available.