Finances an Issue in Hospital Care

Hospital CEO Mike McCafferty says the hospital spends about $270,000 a day on operations. (Photo from Sheridan Media files)
Hospital CEO Mike McCafferty says the hospital spends about $270,000 a day on operations. (Photo from Sheridan Media files)

The cost of providing health care is a balance between expenses to health care providers and how, and if, they are paid.

That's according to Hospital CEO Mike McCafferty, who told hospital board members earlier this week that, while the hospital currently has a strong financial position, there are issues.

In an interview with Sheridan Media, McCafferty said one of the big issues is write-offs – costs incurred in treating patients that the hospital knows won't be recovered from patients.

McCafferty said reasons for write-offs range from charity cases to those who simply don't pay their bills.

As a county hospital, Sheridan Memorial has an obligation to provide treatment to anyone, regardless of that individual's ability to pay for the care.

McCafferty said hospital staff and doctors talk with people regarding elective surgery, and set up payment plans, but when care is essential, the hospital provides it. McCafferty said charity care and bad debt amount to around $11 million a year.

McCafferty said hospitals nationwide, not just in Sheridan, are also seeing increases in Medicare patients. That has an impact, he said, because Medicare pays less than 50 cents per every dollar of cost to the hospital.

McCafferty said Sheridan Memorial is working on the best ways to collect those revenues that can be collected, as well as working on managing the hospital's expenses.

He said the problem isn't just a Sheridan problem but one that's being experienced by hospitals nationwide as the health care industry itself continues to change.

CEO Mike McCafferty. (Courtesy photo)
CEO Mike McCafferty. (Courtesy photo)
SheridanWyoming.com

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