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Archive for Tuesday, March 20, 1990

TRUSTEES TO DISCUSS MEDICARE WRITE-OFF

March 20, 1990

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The Lawrence Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees will see the effect of a large Medicare reimbursement write-off when it discusses the February financial report at the monthly board meeting. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the hospital's Sunflower Room.

According to a report by Dennis Strathmann, assistant executive director for finance, LMH had to write off $420,000 in Medicare contracts because the costs were not picked up by the federal health care program for people over 65 years of age.

Robert Ohlen, executive director at LMH, said the costs came from patients who ran up charges over a long period of time. He said this has become a major problem for hospitals.

"Medicare does not pay for the total care delivered in a hospital," he said, adding that the amount paid by the federal program decreases each year.

In his report, Strathmann said that because of the Medicare losses, new operating revenue for February was $40,000 under budget.

THE TRUSTEES also will decide Wednesday whether to purchase a used main-frame computer from Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, Ky., to replace the hospital's current computer system.

If the trustees approve the computer purchase, the hospital would use $120,000 from the 1989 budget earmarked for computer upgrades, plus an additional $20,000 to $40,000 in contingency funds not in this year's budget, said Ohlen. The final purchase price of the system is still under negotiation.

Ohlen said the current computer system at LMH is operating at capacity, and LMH needs a computer with more storage capacity and speed. The new computer system is expected to meet the LMH's needs for three to four years.

THE TRUSTEES also will consider approval of a $30,500 loan to the LMH Auxiliary for the purchase of 60 new Lifeline units, which are used as an emergency contact system for the homebound.

The hospital would loan the money at a low rate of interest, one-half percent over the prime interest rate, and the auxiliary would repay the loan over a three- to five-year period. The purchase still must be approved by the auxiliary.

The auxiliary currently is leasing 40 Lifeline units in homes and has 20 people on a waiting list. The new Lifeline units would replace the ones in operation, said Judith McFadden, hospital spokesman.

Trustees also will receive a letter of resignation from Dr. Monti L. Belot, medical director of electrocardiography. His resignation is effective July 1.

THE TRUSTEES will discuss an application that was submitted by the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center to the Wesley Foundation in Wichita for a grant to provide housing for the long-term mentally ill in Douglas County.

The hospital and the mental health center plan to go together on the project to provide housing for the long-term mentally ill. They are asking the foundation to provide about half the $100,000 cost for the first year.

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