Archive for Friday, January 23, 2004

KU hospital reports record profit

CEO credits cardiac program, marketing for increase

January 23, 2004

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— The University of Kansas Hospital posted record profits and patient volumes last year, spurring multiple expansion projects.

The hospital's annual report, released Thursday, showed net income more than doubled to $12.7 million last year, with inpatient discharges increasing 8 percent to 18,746.

"It's a sign of continued investment in the facility and our programs, good financial stewardship and excellent people," said Irene Cumming, hospital CEO. "It's a report card. We're pleased with the results."

The 2003 fiscal year, which ended June 30, was the sixth year since the hospital broke administrative ties with Kansas University to be governed under a separate board. Cumming said the change allowed the hospital to invest its profits back into the facility instead of sending them to the state. The hospital remains affiliated with the KU schools of medicine, nursing and allied health.

During that six-year period, annual income has increased by more than $11 million and inpatient volume has increased by 5,664 visits, or 43 percent.

"It's a structure that has allowed the hospital to be operated in a businesslike and competitive, efficient manner," Cumming said. "The results, I think, speak for themselves."

In addition to the increase in inpatient volume, emergency visits increased 2.4 percent to 38,774 and outpatient visits increased 16 percent to 224,604.

Cumming attributed a portion of that growth to the revitalization of the hospital's cardiac program, better marketing and the closing of Bethany Hospital and Trinity Lutheran Hospital in 2001.

But as the numbers have increased, so has the amount of uncompensated care the hospital provides to the uninsured, especially in its emergency department. Uncompensated care increased 33 percent to $51.9 million last year.

Cumming said KU officials were trying to hone their admissions process at the emergency department to weed out nonemergency cases.

"We have people who are using us as a physician office," she said.

She also said the process involved helping poor patients identify agencies to help them fund their health care.

The hospital has several projects under way to accommodate the patient growth. It recently added a sixth floor to its building for a medical/surgical unit and a 30,000-square-foot Cancer Center. Work began last fall on a 153,000-square-foot heart hospital and a 25,000-square-foot emergency department.

The construction is part of a $147 million capital improvement plan.

Cumming said preliminary numbers showed the hospital would continue with a similar increase in revenues and patient volume during this fiscal year.

"We're continuing to see the growth," she said.

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