Hospital officials meet to express concerns over finances

Hospitals called into question need to ensure their operations and finances are managed efficiently.

Last week, a collection of hospital district commissioners met to express their concerns regarding Coulee Medical Center, an organization based out of Washington. According to an article in the Grand Coulee Star, these professionals are tasked with overseeing operations, and they met to discuss what they believed were weakening the hospital's viability.

Topics ranged from the name of the hospital to more serious financial issues. The biggest topic of discussion centered around the decision to stop offering lab tests at low rates during Hospital Week, an event held in May. The decision was made because, according to an attorney who was asked to explain at the meeting, federal rules for Medicare and Medicaid generally don't allow for discounts on services those programs cover. Essentially the hospital was trying to offer discounted care as a means of increasing its revenue, but confusion regarding the laws pertaining to coverage prevented the practice from continuing.

Many spoke up and expressed their displeasure in the ruling, including resident Steve Salstrom, whose wife Gerry Salstrom was running for a spot on the commission.

"How is that any different than $20 sports physicals?" he asked.

Any hospital that has its finances and the legality of its billing practices brought into question is probably in need of assistance in its accounting departments. Because so many people have expressed their concern with how Coulee is operating, patients may opt to go elsewhere for more organized service out of fear. Now it's likely that the accounting and other financial departments at the organization will be under heavy watch and scrutiny. In these instances, no department can afford any inefficiencies in its accounts receivable or any other financial practice. Partnering with an organization to improve medical finance efficiency will help fulfill this need.