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Murray County Medical Center budget stays on track

SLAYTON — Several months after the closing of Slayton’s nursing home, the Murray County Medical Center’s budget is still showing favorable trends.

MCMC Chief Executive Officer Michael Ladevitch said he’s satisfied with the most recent finalized set of hospital statistics. They place the hospital in a more favorable financial position than it posted in 2018.

“The numbers show that we’re going in a good overall direction,” Ladevitch said. “The nursing home closure this spring hasn’t had the negative across-the-board impact that we thought it might.”

Census statistics that point to more daily activity and more revenue can be found for acute care, several types of surgery, and clinic visits.

Acute care patient days for August 2019 totaled 82 days, almost double the 44 days reported in August 2018. For the year, acute days are up from 409 days to 457.

“Acute care is a very important budget area for any hospital,” Ladevitch said. “That’s where it sees a large share of the revenue. August was a very good month for that.”

With surgeries, the grand total has increased from 230 in 2018 as of August to 264 in 2019. Numbers are up for general GI surgery, ophthalmology and podiatry.

August clinic visits increased from 545 to 627. For the year in 2019, the total is up from 4,602 to 4,995, an increase of almost 10 percent.

“The clinic numbers are showing a steady upward trend,” said Ladevitch. “That’s a good sign because it shows that the public is using our facilities for many different health care needs. It’s also indicates that they’ll use the hospital if they need hospital care.”

MCMC’s income statement for August shows a net loss of $95,000 after interest expense and depreciation, but total revenue outweighed total expenses by a margin of $1,388, 241 to $1,365,715.

The expense side shows that salaries and wages paid to staff increased by only about two percent over 2018, about the rate of inflation.

A larger increase occurred for purchased services, from $1,416,057 for the first eight months of 2018 to $1,825,366 for the same time period this year. The total reflects more utilization of services from other larger health care providers.

The August budget data took shape as MCMC considers proposed service contracts from the Sanford and Avera health care systems, both of which are headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Ladevitch said MCMC’s strategic planning committee will meet this month to discuss contract possibilities. It should lead to recommendations for the MCMC hospital board. The board, under hospital by-laws, has the responsibility to coordinate hospital operations and service contracts.

A review of hospital budget data last week by the Murray County Board was followed by discussion of long term hospital goals. The largest part of the discussion pertained to region-wide marketing.

MCMC is the only hospital in Murray County, and is located 20 to 30 miles in any direction from the nearest neighboring medical center.

“It’s good to promote our facility to other communities,” said Murray County Commissioner Laurie Gunnink. “If people don’t have hospital or clinic services in their hometowns, they might decide to come to Slayton.”

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