Under new leadership ? including that of administrator Jimmy Rigsby ? the income and outgo of hospital funds has been scrutinized.
But while some steps have taken the hospital forward, others have led back.
But at the end of the regular meeting in January, Rigsby
said that even with the huge raises, though "we're not where I wanted us to be, we're better than we have been in the past."
But more income is expected soon, according to Rigsby
Getting about $300,000 more from Medicare has put the hospital on a better financial basis.After years of challenging Medicare's reimbursements, the hospital learned last fall it was getting some money it had said it was due.The hospital was told it would arrive in November, then in December, then in January. Rigsby
told the board that it still was possible the hospital will get more back money, and the hospital's being able to offer hospice rooms again will bring more revenue.
A few years ago when Medicare made an interpretation about hospice that brought a penalty, the hospital closed its rooms to patients in the end stage of their lives.
With Medicare changing their interpretation of the law, the hospital is preparing to go out for bid for hospice service again.In the regular monthly meeting, Rigsby
said three rooms were "basically ready." He
spoke of another area where the hospital disagrees with Medicare, and said, "If we had got it, we would have met our goal." Rigsby
has challenged Medicare on manning the hospital's emergency room, which does not have a full-time physician.When a doctor is on duty but not working, Medicare says that expense is not reimbursable, but Rigsby
and, according to him, other hospital administrators in Florida, believe it is.
In fact, Rigsby
says Medicare does reimburse that expense in other states, but interpretations are made differently by various contracting agencies.
In the special meeting, which was called to review expenses that weren't bringing any return, Rigsby
said the fitness center took in about $17,000 in membership fees in 2006, but lost more than $45,000.
said the center was providing a good service to older people, as well as others who didn't want to travel miles to exercise, and those using it asked for it to stay.
...Since Rigsby became administrator about two years ago, about nine people have been added. Rigsby
reported that the number of full-time equivalent employees had crept up from 69.78 to 78.36, partly because doctors had requested more in the laboratory and respiratory therapy.He
was going to try to get it back down to below 70.
is under contract as the full-time administrator but he
does not get benefits.He retired as the administrator of the Jackson County Health Department and took the job at the Graceville hospital, he said at the time, because he wanted to continue working.
said the known Medicare reimbursement will reduce the hospital's debt; another Medicare cost report settlement is expected; and ad valorem tax revenue comes at the first of the year.In addition, he
said the hospital would continue to claim reimbursement for physicians on duty in the ER. He
said the hospital had made much progress under his
administration and he
thought it would continue to do so, but he
was willing to give his
extra pay back if it came to that.
The addition of staff in the lab had cost money, he
said, "but we saved on call-back money," and, "Look at all the things that have been added ... . We have to be a good, clean provider of services." Rigsby
said he'd "waited two and a half years" for the raise. He said another way he was trying to cut back was to reduce weekly hours of some employees from 40 to 32 and had already laid off a member of the cleaning crew.