The finances of Greenwood Leflore Hospital continue to show improvement with the loss posted for March less than half of what the hospital lost last year.

Figures presented Tuesday by hospital Chief Financial Officer Dawne Holmes show a loss of $317,641 in March, compared with the $758,890 loss posted for March 2018. Halfway through the 2019 fiscal year, the hospital has lost $2.78 million, which is a $1.1 million improvement over the $3.88 million lost in the same period the previous year.

The improvement in March occurred mostly due to a reduction in expenses, which fell from $10.6 million in 2018 to $9.76 million this year. Meanwhile, revenue also dipped from $9.76 million in March 2018 to $9.38 million this year.

 Holmes told the board the hospital’s cash on hand has increased every month since the beginning of the year, from $21.02 million at the end of January, to $21.12 million at the end of February, and $22.43 million at the end of March.

“We obviously have a lot to work on, but we’re definitely going in the right direction,” Holmes said.

The same problems persist for the hospital, with gross patient revenue running behind last year’s. One major area trailing revenue from 2018 is the hospital’s operating room, the result of fewer surgical procedures performed  as the hospital seeks to add a general surgeon. In the first six months of the 2018 fiscal year, the operating room generated $19.2 million, compared with $15.7 million this fiscal year.

That decline was offset by increased revenue generated by emergency room treatment. Interim Chief Executive Officer Subho Basu presented a report elsewhere in the meeting that showed currently only 1 percent of people are leaving the emergency room without being treated, compared to 12% in previous years.

ER revenue in the first half of fiscal year 2019 was $19.7 million,

compared with $14.7 million in the previous period.

The cancer center performance was another bright spot in the report, with revenue generated so far in fiscal year 2019 running $2.5 million, compared with $651,919 the previous fiscal year.

In other business:

• The board voted to seek bids to replace the hospital’s cooling tower and chillers on its aging air-conditioning system.

Engineers from Design Build and Engineering Services LLC told the board the systems had reached the end of their lifespan. As a result, the system continually springs leaks, has failed at different points during the year, and has also at times failed to reduce humidity levels in the hospital’s operating room, causing surgeries to be postponed.

From board approval to completion, the project is expected to take four months and cost an estimated $1 million.

• The board heard a presentation from Redmond Design Service LLC about developing a brand for the hospital and a marketing plan to advertise that brand in a bid to attract new patients. Jerry D. Redmond Jr., principal of the Memphis advertising and marketing company, said his firm would “turn Greenwood Leflore Hospital into a brand for care.”

While saying his company hadn’t represented a hospital before, he said Redmond Design Service has done work for Mississippi Valley State University, Jackson State University, a church in Southaven and a program to attract minorities to take part in clinical trials.

Redmond proposed the hospital hire his company for the initial phase that would send a team to the hospital to research how employees view the hospital, collect success stories they have, and determine what attracts people to the hospital. That phase would take 30 work hours and cost $275 an hour, or $8,250 total.

Redmond said there would be two other phases to the program but didn’t associate costs with those phases.

• The board heard an update from consultant Janice Swan with Windham Brannon on improvements she has been able to institute in processes the hospital uses to get paid by patients and insurance companies. Since December, the collection percentages for the hospital have improved every month, she reported.

• Basu presented an extended discussion of work done by Vizient, a consulting firm the hospital contracted with to find areas in which it can improve operations and generate more revenue. The hospital is at the end of its contract, and Basu told the board the improvements are working “and it’s not going to stop.”

Contact Gavin Maliska at 581-7235 or gmaliska@gwcommonwealth.com.

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