Tuesday, March 19, 2019, 2:01 am
The Greenwood Leflore Hospital lost $1.16 million in February, according to information provided by Interim CEO Subho Basu at a special meeting of the Leflore County Board of Supervisors on Monday.
Additionally, a dispute arose about how much money has been lost since October, 2018, the start of the hospital's fiscal year. Basu reported a total loss of $2.46 million in the first 5 months, but district 1 supervisor Sam Abraham pointed out that the cash balance has decreased by $4.7 million during the same period.
Last year, the hospital lost $8.8 million, but the cash balance decreased by $9.5 million.
Basu argued that the hospital is on track to lose less money this year than last year based on profit and loss, while Abraham countered that, based on cash balances, the hospital is on track to do just as poorly this year as last year.
Abaham pointed out that, when you run out of cash, all the profit/loss numbers and timeline plans don't mean anything anymore. He repeatedly insisted that we must have a plan to stop the cash hemorrhage.
The Hospital Board of Commissioners, as well as the Greenwood City Council, were asked to attend the meeting. The meeting started with only two hospital board members present, Marcus Banks and Harris Powers. Sammy Foster came in around 10 minutes late, and Freddie White-Johnson 40 minutes later.
Most of the city council members and all of the supervisors were present, along with Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams.
The meeting, which ran 140 minutes, may be viewed here: Board of Supervisors meeting on Hospital's future.
Sam Abraham opened the meeting by warning, "We cannot continue to go in the direction we are going.... Some of the appointments to the hospital board are leaving out the owners of the hospital."
Abraham informed the audience that the hospital board hired the current interim CEO but never even conferred with the city or the county before doing so.
Abraham stated, "I don't want to lose another doctor to anybody. Without doctors, the hospital won't run.... We cannot afford to lose any more doctors."
Mayor McAdams agreed with Abraham.
Interim CEO Subho Basu made a lengthy presentation. He laid out a timeline in which last year's net loss of $8.8 million turns around to a break even or small profit in 2021.
According to Basu, the hospital's cash on hand is $21.167 million as of now.
Sam Abraham expressed the concern that the hospital doesn't have the reserves to last 18 months at the current loss rates.
Mr. Abraham complained that the charts showing projected revenue increases for 2019 were distorted by having different scales for different service areas, making several relatively small increases look very large. Basu promised to correct the charts going forward.
Basu explained that the hospital is paid only around 30% of the amounts charged on average.
Basu laid out proposed enhancements in services in radiology and other areas to increase revenue in the next two years. Some of this would involve partnering with outside private medical groups. The hospital has offered a contract to a fourth surgeon since Dr. Bowden left for UMMC Grenada at the end of 2018.
Basu stated that the hospital is losing OB-GYN volume to other facilities, and this needs to be addressed.
Dr. Roderick Givens, radiation oncologist, addressed the implications of expanding Medicaid. He is scheduled to meet with Governor Phil Bryant to discuss how to pay for uninsured patients. Supervisor Anjuan Brown stated that we need Medicaid expansion money to fill in the gap. Basu agreed.
District 2 supervisor Reginald Moore suggested that we can fix the hospital if we all vote in state officials who will expand Medicaid.
Sam Abraham called for regular monthly meetings with the supervisors, the city council, and the hospital board to keep track of the hospital's financial status. "I'm not gonna want to be in the dark and wait five months, and come back and you're down $15 million."
Hospital board member Freddie White-Johnson stated that the board knows the hospital is going down, and has worked very hard, but that they are "beat down by the public, the staff, and everybody." Nobody ever tells the hospital board they are doing a good job. She claimed that some doctors are getting bonuses who are not meeting their base salary in charges, and implied that they needed to be fired. No specific names were mentioned.
Dr. Dick Meek, a Greenwood OB-GYN physician, spoke up in favor of expanding Medicaid. He stated that we must all communicate with the politicians to increase the Medicaid reimbursement.
Freddie White-Johnson stated that all the rural hospitals and communities need to go as a group to present to state officials the need to expand Medicaid.
City council member Lisa Cookston questioned why so much money was being spent on consultants. Mr. Basu stated that we do not have the technical expertise required to carry on some aspects of the business. Cookston also expressed concern that the hospital board was not very friendly with doctors and the recruiting process.
Freddie White-Johnson expressed confusion about differing audit numbers from 2017. Mr. Abraham reminded her that the matter had already been explained as a one-time write-down of accounts receivable that are uncollectible, and the difference between pre-audit numbers and final audit numbers which included the write-down.
Several of the supervisors got into a dispute about who was making personnel cuts at the hospital - the CEO or the hospital board.
Mr. Basu again stressed the need to limit contract workers because they are more expensive than regular employees.
A presentation was made regarding four RFPs that have been received for a feasibility study into possibly leasing or selling the hospital to a private management company.
Abraham expressed the hope that the hospital would pay for the feasibility study, but several hospital board members objected that the hospital cannot afford the cost, estimated at $25,000. Abraham pointed out that the most recent consultant hired by the hospital board costs $100,000. Abraham remarked that this attitude by the hospital board members concerns him.
For complete coverage of these and other hospital milestones, please go here: Taxpayers Channel coverage of Greenwood Leflore Hospital's downfall.
John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel