by Guy Blasi
WALSENBURG- The long-awaited 2007-2008 audit for the Huerfano County Hospital District was reviewed at their monthly on April 25, at the hospital. The audit covered both the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center and the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home. According to the auditing company, Stockman, Kast and Ryan, LLC, of Colorado Springs, there was good news. The SPRHC received an “Unqualified” (highest and most favorable) opinion with no matters left outstanding from the pervious audit.
All in all, the report satisfied Chairman Dr. David Zehring with respect to on-going progress at the hospital for the past two years based on the audit report. “Things seem to be going well,” Zehring said. “We deserve a hip-hip-hooray. Our survival depends on a little bit of luck and the change of hearts in Washington (DC) and Denver. Our job is to focus on quality health care and sometimes we don’t have control over cash flow.” Case in point, it was noted prior to the audit that State of Colorado would be giving the hospital a retro payment of approximately $190,000 in Medicaid payments dating back to July of last year. According to the balance sheet provided, liabilities and net assets totaled $16,867,975 in 2008 and $16,760,635 in 2007.
According to the auditor’s report, in 2008, approximately 66 percent of patient revenues came from either Medicare or Medicaid, in 2007 the same revenues were at 58 percent.
Administrator Todd Oberheu presented his report to the Board of Directors with highlighting the new point-of-service collection system has had significant success with improved collections estimated at $2,000 per month. An experienced registered nurse, Martha Frailey has been hired. She has previously been on staff. There is continues to a shortage of nurses and Oberheu is relying on outsourcing though an agency for other qualified nurses. Oberheu also noted the hiring of Dr. James Mosby as the Emergency Room Director. Dr. Mosby comes highly regarded with many years of experience at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, which has a Level I Trauma Center. La Clinica continues to look for additional grant funding to help support its mission. There was also discussion of cross-training of similar jobs between the hospital and the Veteran’s Nursing Home. This would include such items as nursing, janitorial, meals, etc.
Oberheu then went into a newly developed Strategic Plan for 2009 through 2011.
“We want to be known as one of the best hospitals in the area,” Oberheu said. “We are looking to strengthening our primary care services, strengthening our financial position and improving service to our patients and customers.” In noting Oberheu’s goals he wants the hospital to be known as the employer of choice through the development of a unified team focused on patients. Oberheu set forth a plan based on the “Management by Objectives” format, highlighting the pillars of the hospital as its people, finance, quality, service and growth. “We going to do some things we haven’t done here, such as conducting post-patient surveys and get feedback for our staff and management. And through improvements in these areas we will be one of the top hospitals and nursing home providers,” he said.