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Posted on Aug 3, 2015

Hospital narrowly avoiding $3 million warrant line cap

The Quincy Valley Medical Center at this time is “tight rope walking” a $3 million warrant line ceiling established by Grant County commissioners, the hospital’s controller said on Monday.

The warrant line for the hospital is at $2,864,387, controller Dean Taplett reported to hospital commissioners at their regular meeting.

County commissioners have told the hospital that beginning June 1 it cannot go over its $3 million warrant line with the county. If the hospital goes over that warrant line, any warrants submitted to the county after that date may be returned, the county has warned.

The hospital last year asked the City of Quincy to consider purchasing $1.5 million of that debt; however, the hospital and city continue to work on a potential agreement, said Mehdi Merred, hospital CEO.

The hospital this year is doing well when it comes to controlling its expenses, Taplett said. Total operating expenses were $913,638 in June; budgeted operating expenses in June were $1,050,745.
Salaries and benefits for the year so far are down nearly $400,000 more than this time last year, according to hospital numbers.

Hospital figures also show the QVMC recorded net operating revenues of $796,016 in June and more than $4.2 million for the year to date.

However, the hospital is operating at a net income loss of $563,422 for the year to date. Last year at this time, the hospital was operating at a net income loss of $507,950, according to hospital figures.

Much of the reason for the loss in revenue can be blamed on low patient volumes, Commissioner Don Condit told the board back in June. Hospital reports show the Sageview Clinic saw 386 patients in June, down from 481 in June 2014. The clinic is at 89 percent of last year’s volume, according to a staff report.

However, the emergency room was up 26 patients when comparing June 2015 to June 2014. Staff saw 409 patients in the emergency room in June, for an average of 13 patients a day, according to hospital figures.

This weekend is expected to be another busy weekend for the hospital. The Watershed Festival, a three-day country music festival, begins on Friday at the Gorge Amphitheatre.

Alicia Shields, nursing supervisor, reported 49 concert-goers were treated in the emergency room during the Gorge’s Sasquatch Music Festival over the Memorial Day weekend.

About 33 percent of those patients were brought in for drug or alcohol overdoses, she said. Some patients had blood-alcohol levels of 3.5 to 4.0, she said.

During the Paradiso Festival, held in June, the hospital’s emergency room treated 53 concert-goers, 62 percent of whom were brought in for drug or alcohol overdoses, Shields said. Eight of those patients were transferred to area hospital, and two of those patients later died, she said.

Out of the 53 Paradiso patients seen, 28 had insurance, Merred added.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,