By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

At the Oct. 28 meeting of the Morgan Memorial Hospital Authority (MMHA), Kyle Wilkinson, chief financial officer (CFO) for Morgan Memorial Hospital (MMH), cited the hospital’s relatively low daily census of 15.4 patients per day in September as the reason for MMH’s net loss of more than $129,000 for the month of September. Despite the loss, Wilkinson stated that, “compared to last year, we’re better off.”

In September 2012, MMH suffered a net loss of more than $285,000, almost $157,000 more than this year’s loss.

The drop in the daily census to 15.4 in September from 16 patients per day in August led to an approximate decrease of $101,000 in inpatient fees, but Wilkinson stated that the daily census for October has been nearly 20 patients per day, owing to the increased use of the Hospitalist program and the fact that the hospital opened additional rooms for patient care during the month.

Wilkinson also said that MMH continues to “control expenses.”

Operating expenses were down more than $70,000 than the budgeted amount during September.

Because of the upswing in the daily patient census and MMH’s continued effort to keep expenses low, Wilkinson said that he is “optimistic that the second quarter should improve.”

Scarlett Goddard, manager of MMH’s Respiratory Therapy Department (RTD), gave an education report on the RTD, outlining the services and benefits that the department currently offers MMH.

“Respiratory therapists specialize in the promotion of optimum cardiopulmonary function and health,” said Goddard, and that training as respiratory therapists enables the hospital to “effectively assess, educate, and treat patients with cardiopulmonary disorders.”

Goddard stated that the RTD allows for a continuity of care for patients with respiratory disorders, eliminates missed therapies, and elevates respiratory care at MMH generally.

The RTD also offers basic life support and CPR classes to both MMH employees and the community, as well as managing sleep studies run through the hospital.

During 2012 the RTD performed 9026 chargeable procedures for a total of more than $686,000 in billable charges, and, through August, 5220 chargeable procedures had been performed in 2013.

MMHA Chair Terry Evans asked Goddard what would be necessary to enable the RTD to operate 24 hours a day.

Goddard responded that there would have to be two full time PRN nurses for nights, and MMH CEO Ralph Castillo indicated that making the RTD a 24-hour-per-day service is being looked into.

Megan Morris, director of development and community relations at MMH, said that approximately 20 free mammograms for uninsured individuals have been provided for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that around $2,900 has been raise for the Mammography Fund through t-shirt sales and donations.

The Morgan Memorial Auxiliary’s Fall membership brunch will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5, and the 2013 Love Light Celebration will be held on December 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Heritage Hall.

Morris distributed new marketing materials for the hospital’s Swing Bed program, which, in turn, promotes the Hospitalist program.

Additionally, MMH has partnered with the Morgan County Rotary club to offer two additional blood drives with the Shepeard Blood Center.

Madison’s Wal-Mart and Morgan County Library have agreed to be host sites. Dates for the drives were not stated during the meeting.