University Health sees increasing training, indigent costs next year

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University Hospital will face a lot of headaches next year – from millions of dollars to train employees on a new computer system to millions of dollars in indigent care – but hospital officials are still looking for a positive bottom line in 2012.

The five interlocking boards that oversee University’s operations met Thursday in consecutive sessions to set budgets and various changes for next year. University Health Inc., which oversees the other boards, is looking for about $7.5 million from operations and $18.5 million from all sources next year, compared with a projected loss of $657,000 from operations and income of $11 million at the close of this year.

There will be a number of unusual expenses next year, including more than $4 million to train employees on the new Epic computer system and fill in for those employees while they are training, said University CEO Jim Davis. A nurse, for instance, will need 15-18 hours training and someone else will have to fill in during the training.

University’s business will also change in significant ways next year. Income from the physician practices University bought in recent years will increase from $7 million this year to $18 million next year, Chief Financial Officer Dave Belkoski said. That does not include cardiology, with annual revenues around $30 million, with which the hospital is still negotiating, officials said.

“We’re very near the end of that,” Davis said. With them on board, physicians would supply about $50 million of its annual revenue compared to $7 million previously, Belkoski said.

Indigent care costs are also expected to rise. From $11 million in costs to the hospital in 2010, they are projected to reach $18.5 million this year and $21 million to $22 million next year, officials said. Even if health reform kicks in a couple of years from now, it will still be a problem because it is phased in through 2019, Davis said.


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