Year in Review: Hospital gets new administrator

PNT staff report

Roosevelt General Hospital had a year of change in 2010.

In January, Larry Leaming replaced the retiring James D’Agostino as administrator.

Leaming came to Portales from a position as president of the Institute for Rural Health Leadership in Grand Junction, Colo. He had goals of improving the hospital’s financial status, looking at treatment costs and customer service to see what needed to change and bringing in doctors so people didn’t have to leave the community.

Leaming had employee and patients surveys done and has been actively recruiting physicians, including one who started work recently.

Other noteworthy events at the hospital this year included:

• The Physicians Clinic began receiving full payment for treatment of patients on Medicare.

The first payment for full reimbursements came in November, but it covered treatments as far back as the beginning of July, Leaming said. The hospital-based rural health clinic designation the clinic received in July 2009 allowed the new payment rate.

• This summer, RGH prices went up to the 50th percentile, the average charge among other facilities in the south-central United States, said Chief Financial Officer Eva Stevens.

With the changes, Leaming said, RGH will write off more with Medicare and Medicaid patients because those agencies often reimburse hospitals at a set rate for a diagnosis regardless of the cost of treatment. However, RGH stands to make more money from commercial insurance companies that pay a percentage of costs.

For people who pay out of pocket, Stevens said RGH would give discounts or work with them on payment plans.

• RGH and the Physicians Clinic ended the 2009-2010 fiscal year in June with a joint profit of $620,000. This fiscal year to date, meaning from July through November, the hospital has a positive operating margin of $557,000. A profit is the final amount the hospital made after all expenses were paid, while an operating margin accounts for business income and expenses but not taxes.