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SMH budget drops 3.1 percent in expenditures

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees approved fiscal year 2014-2015 capital and operating budgets at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday.

The operating budget includes a 3.1 percent drop in expenditures compared to last year’s budget in an effort to balance expenses and revenues and be profitable in the next fiscal year, finance committee member Gene Davis said.
The hospital has budgeted $102 million in gross revenue, but approximately 44 percent of that, nearly $45 million, is not collected due to bad debt and charity care. Budgeted expenses for the year are approximately $55 million
That is $2 million less than last year’s budget.

“We’re trying to bring our expense line more in line with our revenue line, and that’s been a problem this year. I think the steps they’ve taken should bring us back into positive cash flow by the end of the fiscal year,” Davis said.

Davis said the toughest part of balancing expenses with revenue is forecasting revenue, which can range from $7.8 million to more than $10 million in a given month.

“This is like a big super tanker load. It’s not something where you can respond quickly. We’re staffed to treat 30,000 people in this greater community. We have that staff. Whether people come in or get sick, we can’t control that, so that’s the difficult part of managing our finance,” Davis said.

Hospital Chief Executive Officer Mike McCafferty said the hospital chose to cut expenses rather than increase costs of healthcare in order to remain competitive as one of lowest priced hospitals in the state.

“We didn’t go to raising our prices; we went to cutting spending, and I think that’s the right thing to do. It’s in line with my philosophy and the way I’d like to see us manage this hospital,” McCafferty said.

McCafferty recommended people check out Wyoming Hospital Association’s price point website at wyopricepoint.com to compare prices at Sheridan Memorial Hospital with other hospitals around the state.

The capital budget included nearly $910,000 in projects, including $315,000 for new roofs in areas needing immediate repair.

In other business:
• The hospital board received an update on revisions to the medical staff bylaws and rules and regulations and scheduled to include them on the agenda for the next meeting.

“The medical staff bylaws committee has done a tremendous amount of work rewriting some sections of the medical staff bylaws, which is very helpful because we have some gaps in the bylaws,” McCafferty said.

Some gaps included clarifying the hearing and appeals process for physicians with a grievance and the process for privileging, McCafferty said.

• Hospital board members discussed ways to increase medical office space at Big Horn Mountain Medicine to accommodate more physicians to better serve patients. McCafferty said the hospital will bring on four new internists by late summer or early fall.

“The more activity that we have through referrals from our physicians in this community, the stronger it makes our hospital. It just makes us better. Making sure we have the right amount of physicians is very important to us and our planning,” McCafferty said.

The hospital also hopes to expand Sheridan Women’s Clinic and hire additional OB/GYN positions.
• Board members discussed progress on the new urgent care section of the emergency department, which is slated to open in early August.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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