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"Things outside our control" are impacting Winneshiek Medical Center's profitability

Posted: Wed, Dec 6, 2017 6:06 PM

Winneshiek Medical Center is reporting an operating loss of $1,043,289 for the first four months of its fiscal year.

The operating loss comes despite the fact the medical center has had total patient revenues of over $35 million during that period--a 7.8 percent increase from the same period last year.

However, deductions from revenue came to $16.5 million during the same four months.  That's a 14.4 percent increase from the same period last fiscal year.  It's a trend throughout Iowa, where the Iowa Hospital Association reports bad debt write offs at the average hospital are up around 7 percent and charity costs are up 20 percent.  The average Iowa hospital's net patient revenue has increased 3.2 percent--but the average expenses have gone up 3.9 percent.

Winneshiek Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Lylnn Luloff told WMC Board members Wednesday night, "We're getting squeezed."

WMC Board member Judy Robinson noted many of the causes come from "things outside our control," such as state and federal funding changes.  One other change at the hospital also played a role--the switch-over to the new Epic electronic health records system required additional staffing and caused slightly lower revenues as well.

There are reasons for optimism, however.  Last year Winneshiek Medical Center had a strong financial performance in the second half of its fiscal year, in January through June when patient numbers were higher.