DCHS reports strong financial performance

IRON MOUNTAIN – Dickinson County Healthcare System reported operating income of $853,889 in May, far above budgeted projections and putting the system in the black for 2014.

May’s performance brought year-to-date operating income to $627,706, the Board of Trustees learned Thursday. After calculating non-operating revenues and expenses, the 2014 year-to-date bottom line is a positive $1,110,902.

John Schon, DCHS administrator-chief executive, attributed May’s success to a 33.7 percent increase in inpatient volumes, and also to strategic financial initiatives implemented over the past 18 months. Those initiatives are intended to improve hospital wide efficiencies, reduce costs, increase patient care service levels, and improve customer service.

Schon also attributed May’s financial success to the patient care services provided by the medical staff, including new services by Dr. Joel Johnson, vascular surgeon, and Dr. Breion Tafoya, pulmonary and critical care specialist. Dickinson Memorial Hospital’s medical staff now numbers more than 85 physicians.

“We do thank the community for supporting our hospital,” Schon said at Thursday’s board meeting.

A review of patient activity during the month of May showed the following:

– Cared for 406 inpatients.

– Cared for 15,038 patients in the outpatient hospital setting including the Emergency Department.

– Cared for 10,040 patients in physician offices.

– Cared for 1,233 patients in the Emergency Department.

– Uncompensated Care provided for the month totaled $837,140.

The healthcare system had $8,335,528 in total operating revenue and expenses totaling $7,481,639. The gain of $853,889 in operations compared to a budgeted projected loss of $72,417 and a loss of $450,090 at the end of May 2013.

After the calculation of non-operating revenue and expenses, May closed with a positive bottom line of $866,235. That compares to a loss of $559,439 at the end of May 2013.

In other news, a new “patient portal” is up and running throughout the healthcare system. The “portal” is a computer application that gives patients easy and instant secure access to their health information at any time.

The implementation of this initiative was the result of collaboration among staff in the Information Systems, Patient Administration and Health Information Management departments.

“Everyone throughout our health care system recognizes that serving our patients is our number one commitment,” said Deanna Christesen, patient administration manager. “This new secure portal is yet another service we can offer our patients to help them stay informed of their health status and satisfied with their local community hospital.”

Now, as patients present for services at the hospital and go through the registration process, they will be notified that they have the ability to view their personal health information via a secure internet connection.

As patients express interest in doing so, they will be given a brochure explaining what the portal is and how to set up access to it.

All patients need to activate this service is a valid email address. Once established, they will then be able to access information from their visits at Dickinson Memorial Hospital.

They can access such information as allergies, procedures received, lab and radiology results, vital signs, and more.

Personal health information is available for dates of service from the time the patient signs up for the portal forward; information from past visits prior to the establishment of the portal is not available.

Additionally, the information becomes available at the time the patient account is discharged within the hospital’s medical records system.