Hospital Works at Balancing Income, Expenses

With an annual budget of around $100 million, Sheridan Memorial Hospital's finances are a balance between what the hospital spends on patient care and how much the hospital writes off every year because of bad debt.

But according to the hospital's CEO Mike McCafferty, that isn't unique to Sheridan, Wyoming.

McCafferty said Sheridan Memorial spends around $270,000 every day for operations. The hospital budgets around $100 million a year, and annual income ranges between about a 3 percent loss due to write-offs to, in good years, around a 2 percent gain.

In a year when income is lost, McCafferty said, the hospital has to rely on its savings, and that's something that can only be done for so long.

In the past, McCafferty has noted that write-offs range from people who simply don't pay their bills to people who, because they're low-income and uninsured, can't afford to pay their bills. As a county hospital, Sheridan Memorial provides care for all individuals regardless of their ability to pay. The hospital also receives less money from Medicare.

On the positive side, McCafferty said Sheridan Memorial is doing all right financially. He said the hospital has cash available and doesn't have a lot of debt.

Also, he said, the Sheridan community has been very supportive in terms of philanthropy, which allows the hospital to provide services that would not be available otherwise. That includes facilities such as the Welch Cancer Center, the hospital's cath lab, ICU and emergency department and much-needed equipment.

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