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Health system refunds $200K overpayments

Posted on Friday, June 14, 2013 at 6:41 am

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is taking back overpayments made for lab fees to Lincoln Medical Center.

“We’ve refunded over $200,000,” Jamie Guin, CEO of the Lincoln County Health Facilities, said during the board’s recent meeting.

Guin explained that CMS changed its payment methodology but did not change the payment amount.  

“Our write-offs are exceeding our allowance,” said Quorum Comptroller Bruce Long during Tuesday evening’s meeting.

“We were overpaid for two and one-half years on lab fees. Quorum called Medicare, and now they’re taking it back – we’re not the only ones,” said Guin.

“Our cushion’s gone,” stated Long. “They were paying us based on cost.”

For the past several years the health system has looked for ways   to cut operating costs  and plans to continue to examine ways to reduce expense.

“We reduced salaries and wages $59,000 compared to the same month of the prior year,” Guin said following the meeting.

He noted that reduction was not through layoffs but through normal attrition and improved efficiency.

At the close of the financial report, Guin stated that the net revenue year-to-date has increased about six-tenths of a percent.

“We continue to show growth,” said the CEO. “At the same time expenses are up only about 3.8 percent.

“I think we’ve done a pretty darn good job that expenses only went up 3.8 percent,” Guin continued.

Although the system is trying to break even by the end of the fiscal year, as of April 30, the system showed a loss of $181,506. Year-to-date, all of the system’s entities show a profit, except the physician clinics, which had a loss of more than $1.565 million to date.

On the positive side, the nursing homes received $80,000 for a Medicare adjustment.

“We believe there will be some adjustments in our favor,” Guin stated, noting an acuity adjustment.

Some additional good news is that the system’s existing municipal bonds were refinanced on May 21.

“The reselling of these bonds will save the health system $842,103 in interest costs over the next ten years,” Guin wrote in his report to the board.

The interest rate was 1.70  percent, all inclusive – “It’s significantly lower than the previous interest,” Guin said.

Board action included passing the 2013-2014 budget, which is scheduled to go before the Lincoln County Commission for approval.

In other action, the board approved the purchase of an EKG machine. The cost of the equipment is approximately $15,000.

Also approved was computer hardware for the Patrick Rehab & Wellness for documentation of physical, speech and occupational therapy.  Guin stated that the cost of the hardware is approximately $11,173. He explained that there was already $17,000 in the budget for the equipment.

The board approved a  contract with HealthStream  Incorporated in the amount of $3,307 annually. The Nashville-based company provides the system with HCAHPS patient satisfaction surveys. 

Guin noted that the Health System Foundation sponsored a golf tournament and cleared $1,856. At its April meeting, the Foundation donated $35,000 to the Health System to help fund the canopy construction at the Patrick Rehab and Wellness Center.