Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County approves audit

Hospital Authority audit compiled by Draffin and Tucker for last fiscal year presented

Lin Harris from Draffin and Tucker presents an audited financial statement to the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County on Thursday. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

Lin Harris from Draffin and Tucker presents an audited financial statement to the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County on Thursday. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)

ALBANY — Numbers were the primary item of business for the Hospital Authority of Albany-Dougherty County on Thursday, chief among them being the most recent audited financial statements.

Lin Harris of Draffin and Tucker presented a copy of the audit for the Hospital Authority from the fiscal year that ended July 31, which shows the Authority had $713,343 in total assets as well as total liabilities and net position for the previous fiscal year — while also having $754,620 in current liabilities.

At the time same time, operating revenues were at $100,000 and operating expenses were at $2.24 million, making for an operating loss of $2.14 million. Non-operating revenues were at $4.6 million, which when accounting for the operating loss, came to $2.46 million in excess revenues, the statement shows.

The cash flow statements presented Thursday includes funds received from the Georgia Department of Community Health, which showed $10.15 million into the indigent care trust fund and an upper payment limit of $4.39 million. The amount of cash the Hospital Authority had at the beginning of the fiscal year was $17.65 million, and $213,343 at the end of the year.

For the fiscal year, there was $754,620 in total accounts payable and accrued expenses. There was also $217.89 million in total short-term obligations, the statements show.

A popular topic of discussion at Thursday’s meeting was the available funds for charity care. “These funds are important, but the are definitely not covering (the indigent care cost),” Harris said.

Kerry Loudermilk, chief financial officer for Phoebe Putney Health System, said there was $30 million spent by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital on indigent care the last fiscal year compared to the roughly $27 million the previous fiscal year.

Officials say this comes at a time in which hospitals are seeing increases in charity care, in part due to changes in the health care industry from the Affordable Care Act — through which Georgia has opted not to expand Medicaid.

“What used to be covered by insurance is being paid out of pocket,” said Joel Wernick, the health system’s CEO. “Some folks estimate that all plans will be high-deductible plans.”

With small businesses already trying to adjust, Harris indicated that that’s where things may be heading.

“I fear the trend … (there will be a tendency) to drop coverage or institute a high-deductible plan,” he said. “The trends are ongoing, and data is spotty at best.”

From a preventive care standpoint, the circumstances may be dire.

“With the dynamic you are describing … there is a higher percentage without insurance and those with higher deductibles,” said Dr. Steve Kitchen, the medical staff president for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, at the meeting. “We are seeing a lot of folks delaying care.”

Officials say that with Southwest Georgia having a rate of those eligible for Medicaid at twice the state average, there will still be many left uncovered.

“The Affordable Care Act will help a little with those uninsured, but there will still be a gap from Medicaid,” Wernick said.

On top of that is the sequester, which is anticipated to cost Phoebe $5 million this fiscal year.

“We can worry about the things we can’t control, but it won’t to any good,” Wernick said. “The idea is to take action in what we can control.”

The Authority approved the audit.