University Hospital raises rates, sets 2013 budget

University Hospital patients will be paying higher bills in 2013.

The five interlocking boards that oversee University’s operations met Thursday to set budgets and approve changes for next year. For the first time in four years, charges for all hospital services are rising. Room and board charges will increase 3.5 percent, and all other services, including lab work, X-rays, pharmacy and rehabilitation, will rise 7 percent.

“We were the lowest-priced hospital (in the area), and with this increase we are still in the lower 50th percentile,” Chief Financial Officer Dave Belkoski said. “We didn’t want to be the least expensive, and we didn’t want to be the most expensive.”

In the 2013 budget, University Health Inc., which oversees all the other boards, is looking for $5.1 million in operational revenue, compared with a loss of $184,000 at the close of this year. It also set a $21.6 million capital budget.

University Hospital revenue is projected to increase $5.3 million next year. Income from operations is estimated at $17 million, up from $15 million this year, while expenses increase from $358 million to $362 million.

Projections are based on 350 new surgical cases and 50 additional births in addition to a loss of about $9 million in reimbursements. About $6 million will be spent to support a new computer system called Epic, which was implemented Dec. 1.

University Hospital McDuffie, which was called McDuffie Regional Medical Center before it was acquired by University Hospital this year, is hoping to break even, a significant improvement after several years of losses, hospital leaders said.

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