HMH Board f Trusteed Approves 2018 Budget

July 27, 2017

The Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) Board of Trustees approved the fiscal year 2018 budget

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. – The Hardin Memorial Health (HMH) Board of Trustees approved the fiscal year 2018 budget at its June meeting Tuesday. With operating income of $8.5 million, the budget includes approximately $340.4 million in revenue against $331.8 million in expenses.  

The budget, which projects a 1 percent increase in inpatient volumes and 3 to 5 percent growth in outpatient volumes, is aligned with the HMH four-pronged strategy to grow physicians, improve facilities, add services and develop population health programs for the future.

As the healthcare system continues to grow rapidly, capital needs continue to be top priority. The 2018 capital budget is nearly $18 million, up from $12 million in 2017.

Approximately $1.1 million will be used to complete the emergency department expansion. Another $3.5 million will be used to fund construction of a new Nelson County medical facility.

The new facility will help accommodate the rapid growth at HMH’s Bardstown Family Medical Center and increase access for patients from Nelson, Washington, Bullitt, Marion and LaRue counties to diagnostic imaging, cardio rehab and laboratory services. The groundbreaking for the new facility takes place Thursday in Bardstown.

The remaining capital funds (more than $10 million) are marked for the continuous replacement and upgrading of medical equipment. 

“Updating a single piece of equipment can cost hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars, but these investments are essential to providing the most advanced healthcare for all our patients,” said HMH CEO Dennis Johnson.

The budget includes continued growth in the Hardin Medical Group as several new physicians are starting during the coming year. The budget also includes initiatives that encompass salary adjustments, revenue enhancements, workforce efficiency optimizations and costs containment strategies. 

During the past five years, HMH has experienced what many consider its strongest financial performance in its more than 60-year history, well above most healthcare systems in the state and country, but Thompson said it remains a challenging environment.

He pointed to the $2.5 million loss in May as an example. “There are a variety of contributing factors,” said Thompson. “While our volumes remained high, our reimbursement was lower than expected and our expenses were up.”

Because of the volatility of healthcare, Thompson said, the budget is a somewhat fluid plan. “The industry’s unpredictability has led many healthcare systems to move to rolling forecasts rather than traditional budgets,” he said.

In other board news:

  • HMH Assistant Vice President of Operations Steve White provided an update on the expansion of the hospital’s emergency department. He noted that later this summer, foot traffic will be rerouted to exit the north end of the parking garage and enter the hospital at the main admitting entrance. There will no longer be a walkway from the garage directly to the emergency department. 
  • Also, for up to a few weeks, those parking in the garage will exit the south side of the garage and then walk to the main admitting entrance. HMH is working to limit the timeframe and to make accommodations for patients and visitors who may have trouble with the longer walk, White said. Announcements will be made and signage will be posted as details are finalized. 
  • The expansion creates a more secure emergency department that responds to safety needs, optimizes flow and provides even higher quality care for the more than 70,000 patients treated each year. 
  • Evelyn Saltmarsh, a supervisor for quality and payor bonus with Hardin Medical Group, and ultrasound tech Anne Goodman were recognized as Ambassadors of the Month for May. Both were nominated by co-workers for going above and beyond to help their teams. Jamie Wilkerson, director of cardiovascular services, and Justin Ysunza, shift leader in the security department, were named Ambassadors of the Month for June. Nominated by a patient’s family and a co-worker respectively, Wilkerson and Ysunza were recognized for their genuine concern for patients.
  • Also at the meeting, the board applauded the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses recipients for March and April. Brea Nethers was nominated by a patient’s family for the care provided to a mother and newborn in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Judy Milsap, a nurse on the North Tower’s fourth floor, was nominated by a co-worker for her commitment to patient care and her team. Additionally, HMH Chief Nursing Officer Sharon Wright was recognized as the healthcare system’s first DAISY Nurse Leader Award recipient. A staff member nominated Wright, who she called the “embodiment of nursing,” after she took time to visit a former patient in his home. 
  • The board also received information about the HMH Auxiliary earning two Helping Accomplish Noteworthy Duties Successfully (HANDS) awards from the Kentucky Hospital Association. The Auxiliary received the awards for a volunteer-taught harmonica class and a concerted effort to promote volunteerism.