Garfield County Hospital sees budget in black

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POMEROY -- Garfield County Hospital District's financial report for the first half of 2010 shows a bottom line in the black with a $605,000 year-to-date net income. Net revenues exceeded budgeted expectations by $177,000 and expenses were under budget by more than $220,000.

The favorable report is the result of hard work on the part of staff, and voluntary unpaid leaves of absence and days off, administrator Andrew Craigie said Monday. All employees have returned to work, he said.

"We're hoping to finish the year in positive territory. We hope to continue the trend," Craigie said.

Another factor in the good financial report is a shrinking number of days for settling outstanding account balances. The district is now less than 50 days on average, better than the industry "best practice" of under 60 days. The target number for the district by the end of the year is under 45 days.

The district's board of commissioners also received a report from architect John McClean of Blue Room Architecture when they met earlier this month.

McClean has been working with the district to address facilities concerns by the Department of Labor and Industries electrical inspector.

Craigie said the district and McClean have prepared an electrical diagram and hope to discuss development of an acceptable plan with the L&I.

District officials are now involved in developing a long-range capital plan for the district. The plan, requested by commissioners, will include everything from major equipment acquisition to physical plant changes, according to a press release from the District.

Installation of a new heating and air conditioning system in the long-term care building is underway. It will cost just over $130,000 to replace the system that failed earlier in the year. It is funded through capital reserves and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Other capital projects already in the works include replacement of the hospital roof and resurfacing the exterior of the building. These projects were funded in part by a special levy passed by voters last year.

Commissioners authorized District administrators to purchase property adjacent to the district's medical clinic on Pataha Street.

The purchase will allow the District to expand the clinic within the next five to seven years, Craigie said.

The clinic was designed for one physician, but four providers now use the space, seeing nearly 5,000 patient encounters a year, Craigie said.

Although the transaction is still pending, commissioners authorized an offer at or below the asking price of $139,000, Craigie said.

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