September highest grossing month ever for HCHC

Major infrastructure renovations to come as part of 7-year plan

September was the Henry County Health Center highest grossing month ever, whereas a year ago the hospital was struggling to get patients in the door. And as the hospital focuses on continuing that growth, infrastructure renovations will be on the horizon.

Following a bad September 2017, the hospital went back to the drawing board, and their changes have proved successful reflecting back on the last two months, with August 2018 following closely behind September 2018 as the highest grossing month ever.

“I don’t know what to attribute that to,” HCHC CFO Dave Muhs said during a HCHC board of trustees meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Patient receipts are up from a year ago by 3 percent, but Muhs said that could still be up more. Surgery has seen good growth with surgeries up 28 percent this year.

Bad debt is continuing to decrease, which Muhs contributed to centralized scheduling the hospital implemented this year that keeps patients’ financial obligation in front of them, he said.

HCHC’s employees are also somewhat to thank, with full-time equivalent (FTE) hours down by 7 percent from a year ago, and paid time off accruals reduced. The hospital will have one final reduction in July.

That being said, the hospital is looking at their seven-year plan laid out for them by a an engineering firm. 2020 will see $758,000 of infrastructure updates, including the parking lots and a major air handler. Water chillers will need to be replaced in 2021 and 2022, some of which are from the 1950s.

“We were getting to the point where some of it was pretty aged,” Muhs said, adding that with some of the changes they’ve already made, utility bills have already decreased.

Additionally, a decision will need to be made on whether to renovate the dialysis building or find a new location. Muhs said the building is at the end of its life. It needs new flooring, a new roof and an elevator, which it does not currently have.

HCHC also will be working with the City of Mt. Pleasant to get boundaries re-established on Warren Street, which the hospital owns part of. The street needs to be redone. The boundary lines should be re-established in the next year or two, Muhs said.

This past year, HCHC completed renovations for an Orthopedic and Surgery Clinic, which the departments are scheduled to move in to on Friday, Oct. 19. They will begin seeing patients there next week.

The Rural Health Clinic is also in the final stages of renovation, with carpet laid, paint on the walls and desks being put in.

Renovation on areas of the parking lot is complete as well. Construction will move on to the south parking lot, disrupting about 20 stalls. Renovating the HCHC parking lot is at least a four-year project.

The next HCHC board of trustees meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 20 at noon.