Different Factors Leading To PMH Financial Improvement

Marlinton, WV – Pocahontas Memorial Hospital is enjoying improved finances because of a number of different initiatives. During the monthly meeting of the PMH board on January 26, chief financial officer Chad Carpenter informed the board that the hospital made nearly $95,000 in December. The good month made it a pretty good calendar year for hospital.

The county-owned hospital finished calendar year 2011 with a loss of just $83,663 – representing a vast improvement in the hospital’s finances. PMH lost more than $700,000 during fiscal year 2010, which ended on June 30, 2010. Carpenter reported 399 ER visits and 61 total admissions for the month of December. Board member Janet Ghigo noted the high numbers.

“That’s the most total ER visits and total admissions than we’ve had in the last three years.”

Dr. Frank Puckett reported that many ER visitors arrived from Snowshoe Mountain.

“In December, 19 percent of our ER visits was from Snowshoe – 74 visits.”

Puckett tells board chairman Dr. Robert Must that far fewer patients arriving at PMH are being transferred to other hospitals.

“We did four-percent transfer rate and three-percent AMA rate for the month of December,” said Puckett.

“Four-percent transfer rate,” said Must. “Say, back in October, do you know what the transfer rate was?”

“We were averaging about 30 percent transfer rate, prior to my arrival,” Puckett responded.

During the CEO report, CEO Barbara Lay said overtime costs have been greatly reduced.

“In fiscal year 11, we had 15,172 hours of overtime for a cost of $356,907,” she said. “In fiscal year 12, which is year-to-date – the first six months of this fiscal year – that has been reduced down to 8,017 hours at a cost of $184,461. So, our overtime costs have been reduced by $172,444.”

Lay asked Dr. Puckett to read a letter from a family whose daughter was treated recently at PMH.

“Dear Dr. Puckett and PMH staff,” Puckett read. “We can’t thank you enough for our daughter, Ashley. She suffered from concussion and memory loss while skiing at Snowshoe. Being such a remote area, we had initial reservation about the quality of care we would find for her. Needless to say, our pre-conceived notions were debunked the moment we came through the ER doors.”

“We were taken directly to a bed without a wait and, once there, we were treated with great compassion and tenderness by every staff member who worked with Ashley. Comfortable accommodations were made to allow my husband and I to room in overnight with our daughter. That, in itself, was a tremendous blessing, since we were from out of town and had a daughter who was still dazed and confused from her injury. In a world of ‘hurry up’ and ‘next please,’ we were so touched and refreshed by your high level of care and concern that we just had to let you know. Ashley has a great story to tell her friends and, as parents, so do we, about the people who live and work in the hills of Marlinton, West Virginia. You’re doing wonderful work there and we’re grateful for all of you.”

Board member Kathy Mosesso says a local resident praised the care they received.

“There’s a letter in The Pocahontas Times today from a resident of Marlinton, thanking everybody for the care she received, also,” she said.

In other business, the PMH board:

– Voted 6-0 to move the billing and risk management offices out of the hospital to make space for a Rural Health Clinic, and modify the Rural Health Clinic application to include only the in-hospital site.

– voted 6-0 to allow the hospital auxiliary to investigate a recycling grant from the Department of Environmental Protection.

– approved the purchase of Interqual software at a cost of $14,375. The software assists physicians with determination of acute care versus observation visit and streamlines processing with insurance companies.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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