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Archive for Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hospital’s finances post strong gain

April 21, 2005

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A host of new services added to the financial health of Lawrence Memorial Hospital in 2004, according to a financial audit released Wednesday.

Members of LMH's board of trustees were told at their monthly meeting that the not-for-profit hospital took in $5.6 million more in revenue than it had in expenses for 2004. That represented a 24 percent increase in operating revenues compared with 2003.

"Our new programs really helped drive our revenue growth," said Gene Meyer, LMH president and chief executive. "This continues to show that the financial health of the hospital has improved dramatically over the last five or six years."

Meyer specifically said new services related to oncology, neurology and imaging services created significant new revenue streams for the hospital.

The hospital booked revenue of $107.3 million in 2004, up 6.2 percent from $101 million in 2003. Expenses rose by 5.3 percent to $101.6 million. The hospital saw large increases in the amount it must pay for health insurance for its employees and also in the amount of hospital bills that patients have been unable to pay. That amount increased by 14 percent to more than $8 million worth of services that the hospital was unable to collect upon.

"That's a significant increase, but it is an issue that we're seeing with all the hospitals that we deal with," said Ted Hempy, an auditor with Kansas City, Mo.-based BKD, LLP.

Meyer said he believed the hospital's strong financial position was good news to the general public.

"I contend that in those environments where hospitals lose money, the consumers end up paying higher health care costs," Meyer said. "That's because hospitals have to elevate their prices to remain viable, and they also have to cut their services. We don't have to do that."

The city-owned hospital reinvests its profits back into the hospital. Among the projects planned for this year is the purchase of a $1.6 million magnetic resonance imaging unit. The profits also put the hospital in a strong position to begin work on its $35 million, multiyear expansion that will include upgrades to the surgery, emergency and obstetrics departments.

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