Board Discusses Future of Anson EMS

By Teresa Barbian

 

The Anson General Hospital Board of Directors met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, November 24, 2015. Several items were discussed during this meeting.

Financial statistics were given and the hospital’s October income statement showed a net loss of $160,938.87. The hospital also showed a negative cash flow of $166,681.78. For the month of October, the hospital wrote off $80,592.00 on bad debt and had $13,259.00 in charity. Total payroll expenses were $133,997.16. The Anson Family Wellness Clinic showed a loss of $8,879.06. The ambulance service showed a net loss of $4,032.95. According to Pam Gonzales the Business Office Manager, several claims were denied by Medicare due to billing changes. These claims are now in the appeals process and this contributed to the net losses.

Michael Morris, the Interim Hospital Administrator, told the board that the hospital needs to work towards getting better physician representation in the clinic, even if they hire doctors on a limited basis.

The majority of the meeting focused on the future of Anson EMS. They discussed a few options. Since the hospital holds the license for the ambulance, one option would be for the hospital to take back full responsibility for the ambulance service, but that would be the decision of the new hospital district’s board. Right now the City of Anson supplies employees for the EMS staff and according to the City Manager, as of November 18, 2015 the Anson EMS is fully staffed with 5 full-time employees and 2 part-time employees. Another option is for the city to take on full responsibility of the ambulance service. The City of Anson has made an application to the state to become the ambulance provider. This is a long process and the city still has a few deficiencies to correct before receiving a provider number. Another option discussed was letting Stamford EMS take over the ambulance service. Stamford EMS has maintained their ambulance service due to more successful collections, and they also have different billing practices since they are not considered a hospital. Stamford EMS has an annual operating budget of $250,000-$270,000. They receive $36,000 in subsidies annually from the City of Stamford and Stamford Hospital. The board discussed paying Stamford EMS $3,000 a month ($1,500 from the hospital and $1500 from the City of Anson) for Stamford EMS to operate the ambulance service. According to Sonny Campbell, Anson’s City Manager, “Deciding on what to do with the Anson EMS is a big hurdle.” The biggest problem right now for Anson EMS is the transfer of assets to the new hospital district. Anson General Hospital only collects .25 cents for every dollar spent on the ambulance and according to the board members, “The hospital simply cannot afford to maintain the ambulance service.” The city states that if they take over, they have options to break “even”. Options such as billing as Medicare B instead of A, changing some billing practices, and having the ability to subsidize from the general fund. No decision was made, but the City of Anson firmly stands that they will not let the community be without an ambulance service. It is an “Invaluable service for this community”.

Next on the agenda was for open carry handguns. The board approved a motion to ban open carry as well as concealed handguns on the hospital grounds and the facility. The board however does not have the authority to ban guns at the Family Wellness Clinic.

The next item on the agenda was the medical office lease agreement. The board approved a motion on this agreement to increase the rent of Dr. Kapu according to fair market value. This agreement satisfies the legal requirements that dictates an analysis be performed on all physician office space.

Next on the agenda was the change of ownership to the new hospital district according to the hospital attorney. No action was taken, the interim administrator just wanted the board to be aware of the multitude of changes that needed to be accomplished.

Next was the Administrator’s report. Anson General Hospital’s agreement with Torch Management Services Inc. is about to expire. Mutual Agreement with the board was met to extend the interim administrator’s contract for an additional 30 days.

The board approved the next scheduled meeting to be held on Tuesday, December 29, 2015. On December 22, 2015, Anson General Hospital will have their Holiday Trails. Each department will bring covered dishes and a luncheon will be held. December 15, 2015 will be the birthday luncheon and Dr. Kapu’s luncheon will be on Friday December 18, 2015.

Meeting was adjourned.

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