By Nick Nunn staff writer

Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH) Chief Financial Officer Kyle Wilkinson stated during a meeting of the Morgan Memorial Hospital Authority (MMHA) that MMH suffered a net loss of more than $51,000 during the month of February. “February’s always going to be a tough month,” said Wilkinson, noting that the fewer number of days allows for fewer days available for collection. The average daily census for MMH was 19.5, which was up from January’s census of 16.4, but Wilkinson said the boost in census only came late in the month and that census increases usually affect the revenue a few weeks after the change has occurred.

He also said that the census for the current month through March 27 is above 20 and that the high census should create positive results for March’s financials. The operating expenses at MMH were down almost $146,000 from January to February’s total of approximately $985,000, and Wilkinson commended the staff’s ability to keep the hospital’s costs low. “Our folks do a great job of controlling expenses,” said Wilkinson. Deductions from revenue increased more than $241,000 from January to February.

The deductions were about 53 percent of the gross patient revenue, which, according to Wilkinson, is “about average.” The hospital received approximately $176,000 from the Indigent Care Trust Fund in January. That revenue accounts for the majority of the difference in deductions from revenue between January and February. MMH Chief Information Officer Patrick Cook informed the authority that a new patient portal on MMH’s website will be going live on April 1. Patients will be able to create an online account and then be able to see their lab results, receive information about their medications, check their appointments, and pay their bills.

Cook stated that the program would be limited at its inception but that additional features will be added as use begins to take off. “We’re excited about this,” said Cook. In order to receive federal funding related to the online patient portal project, MMH will have to receive email information from approximately 50 percent of incoming patients, and 5 percent of the total patients would have to actually sign up for the portal. Megan Morris, director of development and community relations at MMH, said that the Morgan Memorial Hospital Foundation has exceeded its fundraising goal of $50,000 for the purpose of room rehabilitation at MMH by more than $11,000. So far, $61,500 has been raised for the project, and Morris said that new furniture for the patient rooms has begun to arrive.

She estimated that the improvements would be complete sometime in May so that the rehabilitated rooms can be shown during Hospital Week, which is May 11-17 this year. On May 14, Shepeard Blood Center will be hosting a community blood drive on the hospital campus. Morris said that they would also be sponsoring a cookout during the blood drive. She also said that the hospital is also working with Shepeard Blood Center, the Morgan County Rotary, and Anthony International to coordinate a blood drive at local industry sites. The hospital will be holding a free diabetes education class on April 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Uncle Remus Library in Madison.

Members of the community can register for the class by calling 706-752-2217. Sarah Burbach presented MMH Chief Executive Officer Ralph Castillo with a gift of a pen in thanks for his service to the hospital. “We know you are leading us to great place,” said Burbach. Castillo accepted the gift graciously, acknowledging that all of the work he does is only made possible by the entire MMH staff. “I can’t do it alone,” said Castillo. “I’ve got a good team.”