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Hospital finance committee examines bottom line

Amanda Butler, Sierra Sun

With the fiscal year’s end fast approaching for Tahoe Forest Hospital, the hospital board’s finance committee met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the bottom line.

After all is said and accounted for, the hospital will be over budget this year almost $1.2 million, leaving a total profit of about $1.5 million.

That is actually a big improvement from last year’s reported operating loss of about $1.3 million.

Rob Eskridge, a hospital board member said, “Basically where we are is a lot better off than we were last year, but not as good as we’d like to be.”

Dave Bottemiller, the hospital’s chief financial officer, attributes this year’s budget overrun to two factors.

“The first factor deals with our contractual allowances,” said Bottemiller. “This year we had more people participate in our contract plans than we anticipated. The second is our allowance for bad debt.”

Bottemiller said bad debt is a combination of individuals, commercial insurance companies and government agencies paying off debts either at a slow rate, or not at all.

The finance committee will present next year’s budget, which will begin July 1, to the board in the upcoming board meeting.

Larry Long, the hospital’s CEO, says the new budget is particularly conservative. It will include price increases for services that will range somewhere between 5 and 6 percent, a figure that board member MaryLou Sullivan noted was far less than the national average of about 13 percent.

Issues concerning the new budget will be discussed and public comment heard in the upcoming TFH board meeting on June 26 at 6 p.m. in the TFH conference room.


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