St. Johnís in the black
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
July 27, 2012
For the first time in four years, St. John’s Medical Center is projecting it won’t operate in the red in the coming year.
The hospital’s board unanimously approved a budget for fiscal year 2013 at a meeting Wednesday. Board members anticipate a $24,000 profit in their operating budget.
“[In] 2009 is when we really started feeling the impact of the economic decline,” St. John’s Chief Financial Officer John Kren said. “Now it seems like we’re seeing a flattening and maybe some turnaround” in income from patient services.
Last year, the hospital budgeted for a $1.6 million operating loss. But after a year of higher-than-expected outpatient volume, preliminary revenue and spending numbers indicate St. John’s will finish much better than the 2011-12 projection.
While a final financial report won’t be released until next month, a report in June estimated the hospital will finish the 2012 fiscal year with a profit of $2.6 million. In 2009 and 2011, the hospital finished about $160,000 behind budget. St. John’s posted a $173,000 operating profit in 2010.
The increase in outpatient business and decrease in the number of inpatients follows national trends. As medical technology continues to develop, the amount of time patients spend in hospitals decreases, officials noted.
Kren also attributed improved income to more orthopedic procedures.
Using data from the past three years, hospital staff anticipated a 3 percent increase in outpatient numbers and a 5 percent decrease in overnight patient stays when writing the new budget, Kren said.
The board also approved a budget for capital expenditures, which included $14.7 million for the hospital’s expansion and renovation project and the entire $5.9 million it will cost to build a new central energy plant.
“I’m expecting for the energy plant to be done sometime around now, next year,” Kren said.
He said much of the work on the new obstetrics and surgery departments should be completed this year.
Enlargement of the oncology department and interior work in the surgery department should take place next year, he said.
St. John’s board approved a maximum price of $27.8 million for the expansion and renovation project, including nonconstruction costs such as furniture, medical equipment and architect fees.
The hospital’s largest source of nonoperating revenue, which comes from a share of county property tax, has steadily decreased. In 2013, St. John’s expects to receive $3.3 million in tax revenue. In 2009, the hospital took in $4.2 million from the tax. The drop resulted from lower collections by the county.