Aspen hospital’s patient revenue slides in August | AspenTimes.com

Aspen hospital’s patient revenue slides in August

Aspen Valley Hospital is outpacing its patient-revenue budget by 3.7 percent for the first eight months of 2014, but August fell significantly short of projections.

Inpatient revenue generated $1,719,730, which is 25.4 percent below the budgeted $2,304,568 for the month, according to data presented by hospital Chief Financial Officer Terry Collins to the board of directors Tuesday. Outpatient revenue also was below budget but not by nearly as much. Outpatients accounted for $5,827,782 in revenue in August, 2.76 percent below the budgeted $5,993,094.

"I wish I had an explanation (for the August drop), but I don't," Collins said Tuesday. "Every once in a while, we get a month where we miss budget by more than we would like to. I think it has more do to with health care, which isn't totally predictable, and we base our budget on prior years. We look back to prior years to make the assumption that this budget year will be like the prior year."

The hospital's total operating revenue also didn't meet budget in August. After deductions that included $112,740 in bad debt, revenue amounted to $5,726,843. That's 9.41 percent below the $6,321,886 budgeted for total operating revenue in August.

Through August of this year, the hospital's total operating revenue stands at $51,398,818, which is 5.23 percent ahead of the $48,846,243 budgeted for all of 2014.

Rodman's pay reconciled

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Collins also told board members of a discrepancy in the budgeted physician compensation in August, which saw $644,646 paid to doctors, which was 34.6 percent more than the $478,948 budgeted for the month.

That's because the hospital had to reconcile its books with Dr. Bill Rodman, whose exclusive provider contract was terminated by the board in December. Earlier this year, the hospital board granted Rodman a one-year leave of absence, giving him the option to return to the hospital in July 2015 as a private surgeon with hospital privileges but without the subsidies he previously had. The payment to Rodman, whose June 30 exit was marred by public outcry, "was the biggest part of the variance," Collins said.

Board endorses Ambulance District

The board also voted 5-0 to endorse Ballot Issue 1A in the Nov. 5 election, which asks voters to approve a property tax increase for the Aspen Ambulance District.

The district's mill levy is 0.22; it's seeking an increase of up to a 0.501 mill levy. That translates to a hike in annual property taxes from $17.50 for a million-dollar home to $38.80.

Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards asked the board to endorse the mill levy increase for the district, which was originally established in 1982 with a mill levy of 0.82.

"We all work in partnership (with the ambulance district), and we all know there are very active lifestyles residents like to engage in," Richards said. "The Aspen Ambulance District is an integral component to our network of care providers, working with Mountain Rescue, the Fire Department, the Sheriff's Office, the Police Department and, of course, the hospital."

The ballot issue already has received endorsements from Aspen Skiing Co. and the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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