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Hospital Authority reviews audit, bond issues

ALBANY, Ga. -- On Thursday, the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County had an agenda similar to what the Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital board had the previous day, which pertained primarily to finances.

Lin Harris of Draffin & Tucker started off by making an audit presentation to the Hospital Authority much like the one given to the hospital's finance committee on Wednesday, except with some figures specific to Phoebe North.

Officials say Phoebe North provided $1.1 million in indigent and charity care during the seven-and-a-half month period Phoebe North was accounted for during Fiscal Year 2012. At the same time, the Authority had an operating loss of $3.7 million at Phoebe North and received a transfer of $4.95 million from Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital during FY 2012.

In other business, following a request made by Phoebe's board, the Authority approved a resolution for issuance of 2012 bonds and a resolution for modification to outstanding 2008 Series A and B bond documents.

Phoebe CEO Joel Wernick also took some time to give a presentation regarding the financial challenges hospitals face, and how Phoebe has been faring in regards to that.

For Fiscal Year 2011, Wernick said, a breakdown of the operating expenses for Phoebe Putney Health System showed that 42 percent went to salaries and wages, 13 percent went to employee benefits, 30 percent went to medical supplies while the remainder went to purchased services, depreciation and amortization and interest.

The median days of cash on hand for hospitals and single state health systems that earned the highest rating from Moody's -- a provider of credit ratings, research and risk analysis -- for FY 2011 was 277.8, and 76.4 days for its lowest rating, officials say.

Phoebe had roughly 200 days of cash on hand for that fiscal year, Wernick said.

Officials emphasize that, with the changes underway for hospitals, the challenge of running a healthy organization is growing more difficult and more important than ever. Health care reform, as well as other factors, are expected to increase the number of people using health care services. At the same time, there is $415 billion in cuts to Medicare reimbursement, and possibly another $400 million in cuts for hospitals in Georgia, expected if the state's provider fees expire in July 2013 -- resulting in hospitals, physicians and other health care providers helping more people with fewer resources.

Also at the meeting, there was a resolution brought forth seeking approval of a clarifying amendment to the amended and restated lease and transfer agreement for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Phoebe North.

The amended and restated document, which became effective Aug. 1, put both campuses under the same lease. The resolution approved Thursday is meant to clarify that the lease has been extended 40 years from Aug. 1, a move made following a question from an attorney regarding the term of the lease.

The Authority is looking to possibly have a special called meeting on Nov. 30.