By Diane Stamm
The Wauneta Breeze
Chase County Community Hospital CEO Steve Lewis and board chairman Bob Mendenhall, Sr. stopped by the Chase County commissioners’ meeting Nov. 12 to update Commissioners Jodi Thompson, Chuck Vette and Don Weiss, Jr. on the hospital’s finances.
Reviewing the year which ended June 30, Lewis said the hospital has shown a big financial improvement over the previous year with total expenses down $730,000, but still operated at a $235,000 loss. The hospital’s total margin went from -11 percent to -2 percent.
According to Lewis, most inpatient care is given to Medicare patients and Medicare and Medicade owe the hospital $1.2 million.
Meanwhile, the hospital is “not capturing a lot of young people,” an area Lewis wants to change in the coming year. Mendhenhall said having only one doctor who has been overloaded has not helped the situation. Both are hopeful the addition of a new doctor will help.
Another area Lewis hopes to improve on is accounts receivable. The hospital switched to new computer software due to Obamacare and billing is improving. Lewis also is looking to add ophthalmology coverage for cataract surgery and better orthopedic care, plus another family practice physician or midlevel caregiver.
In other business, the commissioners signed a contract with BW Telcom allowing the company to use the county right-of-way as it expands its fiber optics network. Digging will mostly occur in the eastern part of Chase County.
County Assessor Dotty Bartels asked for permission to be a beta county for the computer program that keeps track of all Chase County property information, such as dimensions and quality, and calculates the values of these properties. The assessor’s office would continue to use its current program while running the new program, which is by the same company, side-by-side for six months. Because the old program is needing to be replaced, being a beta company will cut the expenses of updating to the new program from $25,000 to $12,500. The office’s computer system has been evaluated and meets all requirements.
Bartels also presented the commissioners with a contract with Pritchard and Abbott for appraisal of the oil and gas in the county. The commissioners approved the contract which must now be approved by the state.
The next meeting of the Chase County Commissioners will be Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 8 a.m.