Hospital gains financial ground

by Richard Uhlhorn

“We’ve had a great month,” said hospital commissioner Fred Miller regarding the hospital’s financial health.

CFO Cheryl Cornwell went on to report that the hospital received a lot of good news in August. “We’ve had $2 million forgiven which goes from the debt side to revenue side. That’s huge,” she said.

She added that the hospital will be receiving another $2.6 million back from Medicare for underpayments to the hospital. “This will also be recorded as revenue,” she said.

“I’m continuing to work on the $4 million CARES money. I’m hoping to get much or all of it forgiven.” Cornwell added that the hospital can’t count on that money until it is approved by the government.

She stated that Cash was trending down and receivables were trending back up. “That’s not good.” The emergency department, med-surgery and imaging departments are up but lab testing was down. Most lab tests were COVID related.

CEO Gorge Rohrich told the commission that people are seeing something happen at the new hospital’s location. “There is exciting stuff going on,” said Rohrich. “This Friday will be the day for the first concrete pour and structural steel will begin arriving.”

Rohrich gave the commission the transition’s draft Plan B and told Chair Mary Murphy that a final will be delivered at the next meeting. He also told the commission that he and several board members would be attending the City Council meeting that night to ask for some financial relief on the money already paid to the City.

The hospital will have a vaccination requirement and the commissioners are not included in that requirement. Staff with a medical exemption and/or a strong and proven religious reason to not get the vaccine will be allowed. La Porte apologized to the employees who have been living a life determined by others. “It’s like allowing someone else to take care of our health.”

HeritageHeights:

Rohrich asked the board for more time to finalize the lease extension beyond 2048 for Heritage Heights. He is struggling to arrive at what a rental price should be. “I want to develop it further and bring it back with a rental amount. I would appreciate any assistance.” Commissioner Mary Signorelli replied she would help him with that.

Commissioner Jordana La Porte remarked that she thought the hospital had helped pay for the Heritage Heights building, but Fred Miller said he was not aware of any funding or help provided by the hospital.

Signorelli said she remembers the Heights paying off any financial responsibility to the hospital. La Porte then brought up the fact that after the lease is over, the property reverts back to the hospital.

Rohrich added that once the lease period is over, the property does come back to the hospital including the building. Miller said the same issues that are facing the hospital now came up with the old hospital building below the current hospital but those issues disappeared when the Wenatchee Valley Housing Authority bought the building.

Strategic Planning:

The Hospital/Board/Community Strategic Planning session is planned for the 31st and will be held as a virtual meeting. “It’s not the time to be holding an in-person meeting, so it will be virtual.” Rohrich told the commissioners he needed another 15 to 20 stakeholder member names by Thursday. “Please do that today,” he requested.

Change order policy:

Rohrich stated he had worked through the change order policy and it would be coming to the commission for approval at its next board meeting.

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