Good Samaritan Presents Budget for 2018

The Good Samaritan Board of Governors approved the hospital’s operating budget for 2018 at Tuesday night’s board meeting. The budget is set to reflect a 3.25% operating margin for the year, based on increased outpatient volumes and reduced costs. Continued efforts of the organization will focus on the patient triple aim of quality, experience and low cost.

“As our senior leadership and board worked through this budget the focus remained on our patients, as well as our mission, vision and values,” said Rob McLin, President and CEO. “In 2018 we will remain vigilant in our dedication to keeping Good Samaritan strong, even in the midst of substantial payor mix changes and even greater reimbursement issues.”

McLin also commented that the budget reflects Good Samaritan’s commitment to offering the highest quality health care combined with cost-effective and state-of-the-art care. “Our team has proven their dedication to our patients and community,” he said. “It is this commitment of our employees that makes Good Samaritan a world-class organization.”

Good Samaritan’s mission as an organization is to provide quality health care to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. The 2018 budget anticipates more than $13.5 million in charity care will be provided next year to patients. “Although more people have insurance now, there is uncertainty of what the future will hold for health care coverage. Therefore, there is still a large need in our community for free health care services, ” stated Thomas Cook, Chief Financial Officer. “Continuing to provide charity care to those in need in our community allows us to fulfill our mission to provide excellent health care by promoting wellness and healing through trusting relationships.”

Good Samaritan’s Primary Care Clinic (PCC) and Community Health Services (CHS) are the driving forces to ensure our community has access to health care. The PCC, a health office that provides care to uninsured patients, has had more than 3,980 visits in 2017 so far. CHS is also providing health screenings in Knox and surrounding counties. To date, CHS has provided 31,641 screenings to 17,599 people that may have otherwise not received any health care.

From a growth standpoint, Good Samaritan leaders are expecting only a slight increase in inpatient volume next year. The hospital’s director of accounting, Randy Thompson, says this expectation has to do with a shift to more patients being seen as outpatients. “The low rise in inpatient volumes is due to a transition by payors in health care,” Thompson added. “Government and health care payors are covering less for inpatient stays and driving their members to seek outpatient services.”

“The hospital’s budget for 2018 is based on positive outpatient growth as particularly seen in the outpatient area in 2017 and is anticipated to continue through the coming year,” added Cook.

The recruitment of new physicians to Good Samaritan also is a factor in increased volume expectations. “We have welcomed several new physicians this year, and look forward to even more additions to the medical staff throughout 2018,” said McLin. “Recruitment of family practice, internal medicine, oncology, obstetrics and cardiology will allow the hospital to remain optimistic for growth in the next few years.”

Hospital-employed physicians recruited in 2017 include general surgeon Dr. Lindsey Fleshman and two anesthesiologists Drs. Matthew Hermansen and Steven Maynard. New hospitalists, radiologists and neurologists have also been added to the Good Samaritan team. Dr. Sugata Sensarma has also been added to the medical staff in the field of pulmonology. There were also 10 advanced practice providers hired this year.

Because of the physician and advanced practice provider additions in 2017, Good Samaritan projects a 1.2% increase in volumes in 2018 in outpatient areas. The budget will also reflect the growth of the Samaritan Center by 12.3% and Rehabilitation Center by 1.7%.

Another piece of the budget includes a 2% wage increase for employees. Vice President of Human Resources, Dean Wagoner, stated that 2018 will be a year of positive patient experience scores and high employee engagement. “We are privileged to have the best employees who continuously deliver outstanding patient care and support services,” Wagoner said. “Health care is challenging at this time and will continue to be so in the future. We recognize our employees efforts and commend them for their amazing work.”

The result of the increase in wages is an additional total wage increase amount of $1.376 million added to the wage and salary expense. “The commitment of our employees to Good Samaritan and the communities we serve is endless,” added McLin. “Through these uncertain times of health care, our employees have remained dedicated to providing world class health care to our patients, and they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts.”

In order to remain price and cost competitive, Good Samaritan announced an average rate increase for services at 3.24%. “We understand the high costs of today’s health care system and recognize the changes affecting our patients,” said Cook. “We value the relationships we have built with our patients and will continue to keep our costs lower and more affordable for our community.”

“The changes in health care are still unknown and hospitals are forced to predict and navigate different potential outcomes. With new government leaders in power, those changes will continue to increase,” stated McLin. “Good Samaritan strives to remain on the forefront of these changes by constantly improving our health care practices and becoming more efficient. Our team of employees, physicians and volunteers all understand the hospital’s mission to improve the health of the communities we serve and this shared purpose is how we will remain the best choice for health care in our region.”

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