Monday, December 13, 2010

Fiscal picture 'very healthy,' Barber says

By Rich Suwanski, Messenger-Inquirer

Published: Friday, December 10, 2010 12:54 AM CST
Owensboro Medical Health System is in stronger financial shape than it was a year ago, according to the consolidated financial statement released at its annual Report to the Community on Wednesday morning at the HealthPark.

OMHS showed a profit of $40.1 million in the fiscal year ending May 31, up $27 million from $13 million profit the previous fiscal year. Additionally, OMHS' investment portfolio showed an increase of $56 million as the market improved over the previous year.

"We're generating enough revenue to easily pay back our bond debt, and the interest and principle on that," said Jeff Barber, the hospital's president and CEO. "And we're continuing to build our cash-on-hand, which is important for hospitals.

"We're economically and financially very healthy, and we perceive that it will continue to be that way for several years."

Barber said it established a process that improved patient outcomes and helped control costs. He said better patient care resulted in fewer complications.

"When people don't get sicker in the hospital, those costs aren't there and that eliminates a lot of cost," Barber said. "And when you have people who are well-trained that do a better job a lot more efficiently, you don't have extra costs."

Total gross revenue for the 2010 fiscal year was $813.2 million, an increase of almost $91 million over the 2009 fiscal year. Net operating revenue was $416.3 million in the 2010 fiscal year, an increase of just over $43 million from 2009 fiscal year.

Meanwhile, OMHS' Community Benefit Program provided $16 million to the area in programs, health services, education, research and charity care. Representatives from two organizations receiving funds from the Community Benefit Program praised the hospital's work beyond its own walls.

Two Rivers Buddy Ball organizer Billy Shain told the 125 people in attendance at the morning gathering that OMHS' financial support enabled special needs children to play baseball and other sports.

"It's a social situation for them, to interact with kids like themselves," Shain said.

Dr. Mike Johnson, an Owensboro dentist, said the hospital's funding helped the Community Dental Clinic at Mayfair Square meet the needs of children and adults with limited resources.

"The hospital saw the need for it and funded it, and the children in Daviess County are eternally grateful," he said.

Barber trumpeted OMHS' quality accomplishments, including HealthGrades' report that listed it as one of 16 U.S. hospitals recognized for excellence in clinical, safety, women's health and patient satisfaction.

He said OMHS has continued growing as a regional health care option by, among other things, opening the Center for Women's Health and three clinics at Walmart stores in Owensboro, Henderson and Newburgh, Ind.

Barber also said OMHS offers a facility such as the HealthPark and programs to improve the community's health.

"Our goal is to keep you out of the hospital," he said.

Last year, OMHS had 482,000 outpatient visits, 17,000 hospital admissions and nearly 19,000 surgical procedures. The hospital employs 3,218 people, the largest employer in the state west of Louisville, he said.

"We're a growing organization, and we'll continue to grow because demographically, that's the way it is," Barber said.

Earlier this year, OMHS began construction on a new hospital at Pleasant Valley Road and Daniels Lane, due for completion in 2013. Construction manager Merrill Bowers of Turner Construction said the project is on schedule.

While many people bemoaned the summer's dry weather, it helped Turner excavate and erect steel.

"We've poured the first piece of the second floor (on Wednesday)," Bowers said. "The weather is a little cool now, so we've taken measure to take care of the concrete. The visible parts of the building are coming along.

"And we were able to pave the main roads before the asphalt plants shut down."

Bowers said to date, $46 million worth of material, equipment and contracts have been awarded to firms that have a Kentucky address and are within 50 miles of the job site. And even those that don't have an Owensboro address are using local labor.

Thursday's program also included Christmas songs performed by the Sutton Elementary School chorus.