Population Growth Keeps Ccgh Budget In The Black

Strategy Of Expanding Services Pays Off

$400,000 Surplus Expected

March 04, 1992|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff writer

WESTMINSTER — A continuing increase in business at Carroll County General Hospitalindicates it will end its fiscal year $400,000 in the black on June 30, said Kevin Kelbly, vice president for finance.

During his report last night to the quarterly board meeting of Carroll County HealthServices Corp., the parent corporation for the hospital, Kelbly saidhe expects the hospital to do a total of $40 million in business by the end of the fiscal year.

The growth at the hospital has resulted from more doctors admitting more patients to use the increased services added by the hospital in the last few years, he said.

Executive Vice President John M. Sernulka said the hospital hopes to grow further by reaching out to pockets of the county that need more physician services.

"We have spent a great deal of strategy and effort working with physicians to get the services they want, to provide the care their patients need," Sernulka said.

"The physician still directs a great deal of hospital choice," Sernulka said. "Most of the patients do reside in the county, and they would prefer to come here."

Sernulka said the hospital hopes to work with physicians planning to build practices in Carroll County, encouraging them to open offices in Taneytown and Mount Airy.

He said the entire South Carroll area, from Mount Airy to Eldersburg, could use more obstetric and pediatric services.

Those services are among the areas in which the hospital has invested, starting24-hour coverage by in-house pediatricians and obstetricians last year.

The hospital's occupancy rate was at 96 percent in January andhas averaged 80 percent since the fiscal year began July 1, Kelbly said.

Kelbly had planned on a loss in the first two quarters of $1 million, but because of the increase in patients, the loss so far this year is only $311,000, he said.

Despite the recession, the hospital continues to do a lot of business because people still get sick and need care, Kelbly said.

"It's sort of independent of the economy and the job market," he said. "I think the hospital is still benefiting from the population growth in the county. The people in the county need medical care, and that's what we're here for."

By the end of the fiscal year June 30, Kelbly expects the hospital to show a surplus of $400,000. However, because the hospital is non-profit, the money goes back into services and savings.

The hospital also has added 30 beds since last year. Ten of the beds were an increase in medical-surgical care and 20 beds were in the short-term psychiatric unit that opened in July.

Kelbly said the opening of the psychiatric unit was responsible for most of the 16.3 percent increase in admissions for the first seven months of this fiscal year.

Also, he said, outpatient surgery remains one of the hospital's busiest services. Between July 1 and Jan. 31, 2,700 patients had same-day surgery -- 9.4 percent more than expected.

Some of the new equipment and services added over the last two years include magnetic resonance imaging; lithotrity for non-surgical smashing of kidney stones; a second mammography unit; additional video cameras and lasers for surgery; and a new ultrasound unit.

Services still to come include cardiac catheterization and angiography, a new computerized axial tomography (CT) scanner and new beds for most of the patient rooms.

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