By Maria Weaver


Starting this week, Hamilton Healthcare System will offer nuclear medicine studies at Hamilton General Hospital.

And by the end of the month, a wound care clinic will be operational on the Hamilton campus.

Hamilton County Hospital District’s board of directors has been planning additional services for many months and learned at the September meeting that they are now becoming available.

The directors also approved a $28 million operating budget and a tax rate of $0.1626 per $100 valuation.

Medical staff appointments also were approved, resignations acknowledged and financial reports reviewed at the Sept. 28 meeting.

Beginning Thursday, nuclear medicine studies will be available at HGH. The will be conducted on Thursdays for patients who go through the referral process.

Beginning Oct. 25, Dr. Thomas Aycock will be on the HGH campus in the diabetic education building next to the Wellness Center. He and Jacque Wellborn, RN, and Karen Johnston, RN, will offer wound care on the HGH campus.

Administrator Grady Hooper said the addition of these services will enable Hamilton area residents to receive care locally.

Interim CFO Melissa Walker told the board that department heads submitted proposed budget recommendations and most were approved, and the budget will fully staff departments now operating with not enough staff.

She said a new tool, Patient Pay Estimator, has been initiated to inform patients up front of their estimated costs.

Walker said no pay increases were included in the budget and employee benefits increased in the health plan about 5 percent.

As patient admissions continue to decrease, Hooper said it might be time to consider going to Critical Access, which is about a six-month process.

In presenting the tax rate for approval, Hooper recommended the effective tax rate of $0.1626 per $100 valuation, which the board approved.

The board OK’d the appointments of Adam Johnson, MD, to the consultant staff in pathology and Carter Smith, MD., who is a general surgeon in Clifton, to the courtesy staff.

Walker presented financial reports for July and August.

In July, revenues were $6.2 million and adjustments $2.7 million, resulting in net patient revenue of $3.5 million.

Operating expenses for July were $2.2 million, resulting in net income from operations of $1.3 million.

There were 59 admissions and 189 census days for an average daily census of six.

Inpatient and clinic revenues include a higher-than-normal number of late charges from prior months, and net patient service revenue included $1.8 million from DSRIP programs.

For August, revenues were $5.8 million, adjustments $4.3 million and net patient revenue $1.5.

Expenses for the month were $2.2 million, resulting in a net loss from operations of $630,619. Nonoperating revenue totaled $169,949, bringing the loss to $460,669 including tax revenue of $56,000.

There were 67 admissions and 199 census days in August for an average daily census of six.

Walker said census continues to be down from the previous year.

In his administrator’s report, Hooper said work continues on the MRI building, and the equipment is scheduled for delivery in late November.

He said the sleep lab has been moved to a renovated house across the street from the hospital to increase patient satisfaction.

The purchase of property on Highway 36 is complete and asbestos and building removal is in progress.

Grant Ward, PA, has joined the healthcare system and will begin practice after notice of passing boards.

Sara Young is the new Director of Community Relations, and longtime Hico Clinic employee Penny Lively has accepted the role of clinic manager.

Hooper reminded the board of the upcoming Pumpkin Patch and the HGH Healthcare Foundation fund-raiser set for Oct. 26 in Goldthwaite.

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