Memorial paints rosier financial picture

Memorial Health System’s financial picture is looking pretty rosy these days – thanks to some changes made internally and to the rebounding stock market.

Memorial reported January earnings at $4.8 million, exceeding its budget and the previous year’s numbers. The information was part of the hospital’s monthly report to the Colorado Springs City Council.

“In 2011 we initiated some efficiencies in staffing and in purchasing that are really paying off now,” said Mike Scialdone, chief financial officer for Memorial. “And the stock market ended the year flat, but rebounded nicely in January and February. That’s the difference.”

Another difference: even though Memorial’s patient volumes are still down, about 10 percent from its budget, the net patient revenue is up from the same period in 2010 by 4.7 percent. Memorial treated 2,091 patients in January 2012. They saw 2,314 patients in January 2011.

“Overall, it’s a strong financial picture,” he said. “The emergency department tends to be the busiest in the state, and revenue there is up as well.”

Memorial’s ED say 11,821 patients in January, a .1 percent increase from its budget and 3 percent increase over January 2011.

Its net income for the month was $10.1 million, a 606.9 percent increase from budget and a $550.1 million increase from 2011 numbers.

It’s those figures that point to the rebound in the stock market.

“We earned about $9 million in unrealized income from the market,” Scialdone said. “When the year ended the way it did, some people retooled their portfolios and missed the chance to take advantage of the rebound. We never panic when the stock market fluctuates, so we were able to see the profits.”

A negative spot in general good news: Memorial’s bad debt is 3.85 percent of its gross patient revenues, higher than its 2.49 percent target. Charity care, however, was lower: 1.34 percent and below the hospital’s target.

Other news from Memorial: the hospital hired a new pediatric surgeon, new cardiologist and family medicine doctor. It also hired a full-time neurohospitalist – a doctor who specializes in strokes and seizures.