MINUTES FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING
August 2, 2011
1175 E. Main Street
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Councilor Slattery, Morris, Voisin, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Lemhouse was absent.
Chair of the Board of Directors of Ashland Community Hospital Doug Diehl presented their report to the Council. He stated that much time has been spent in strategic planning discussions and the challenges brought about due to the economy and in the healthcare field.
He identified five key initiatives in the strategic planning process as: 1) Physician alignment, 2) Program Development, 3) Senior Population Focus, 4) Emergency Department Refocus and 5) Patient Centered Philosophy. The Board appointed an ad hoc strategic planning task force to work with the hospitalís senior leadership team to evaluate and respond to on-going changes.
The Boardís committees continue to meet regularly with oversight for finance, quality and compliance and governance. The Boardís newest committee is the Medical Affairs Committee which consists of representatives of the Board and the Medical. The Committee was designed as a forum for the informal exchanges of ideas and information between these two groups. The primary focus of the Committee over the past year has related to the electronic medical record and approaches for interfacing of individual physician medical records into the hospitalís Meditech IT System.
The Board has two new members, Alan DeBoer and Saundra Theis who were appointed recently by the City Council for four-year terms.
Ashland Community Hospital C.E.O. Mark Marchetti presented the annual report. He indicated in his report that this past year has been one of considerable challenge for the hospital. The hospital has experience flat volumes, an increased dependence on reimbursement through the Medicare and Medicaid Programs and declining reimbursement rates from these programs. Rising costs for labor, drugs, medical supplies, utilities and technology, and the overall poor state of the economy in high employment, a loss of healthcare benefits, and increased out-of-pocket cost for many who have benefits have all impacted the hospital.
Mr. Marchetti noted statistics for the year along with gross revenue and cost of operation. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the hospital resulted in an overall loss for the year of about $500,000 or a negative margin of .56%.
Accomplishments for the Hospital were many and duly noted in the report.
The Ashland Community Hospital remains committed to the Community it serves and its involvement with programs in the local schools. The Hospital and its Foundation supports community organizations and activities through grants, sponsorships and participation in celebrations and fundraising events. The greatest reflection of the hospitalís mission to the community was the provision of approximately $12.5 million in uncompensated care in the fiscal year 2010-11 including $1.6 million in charity care, $1.5 million in bad debt write-offs, and a $9.4 million shortfall in payments through the Medicare Program. This shortfall represents the difference between what the hospital receives from the Medicare Program and what it actually costs to take care of Medicare patients.
Education and training of staff is a commitment of the hospital and statistics were provided on staff participation and programs made available.
Mr. Marchetti stated that a ďcautiously optimisticĒ budget for the fiscal year 2011-12 was approved based on existing services remaining relatively flat. Some modest increases were projected for new programs, no market-based wage adjustments and routine employee step increases were reduced to 1%. Budgeted discretionary spending has been reduced wherever possible.
He explained that there is considerable uncertainty ahead and provided information associated with the State budget reduction in hospital reimbursement through the Medicaid Program.
Mr. Marchetti stated that the hospital is in a difficult strategic position because of its location relative to Medford, which results in the hospital not qualifying for cost-based reimbursement through the Medicare Program as a Critical Access Hospital. Because of the hospitalís proximity to two much larger hospitals in Medford, a standard of care and level of technology makes it difficult for a small hospital to match. All hospitals have difficulty competing on a price basis with free-standing diagnostic, surgical and treatment centers.
He completed his report noting the uncertainty of the healthcare reform and the on-going discussions related to accountable care organizations, capitation, system integration, managed care, consolidation, and reorganization. He stated that Ashland Community Hospital must position itself to participate in this new and more complex environment.
Mr. Marchetti anticipated that the direction from Board would be determined in the next 6-9 months.
The Council approved Councilor Silbiger as council liaison to attend the Board meetings. A suggestion was made that the Council schedule a Joint Study Session with Hospital Board.
Meeting was adjourned at 6:40 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder