SVH Governing Board Discusses Upward Trend

By Lorri Ooley

HERALD Reporter

The governing board for Sierra Vista Hospital (SVH) met for its regular scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 27, in which the agenda was of normal length, covering agenda topics of current status updates for the new construction to the financial reports for July. With the addition of Karen Mogen, representing Elephant Butte with her counterpart John Bokich, the governing board is now fully staffed.

With no public input, the meeting began with the hospital’s financial report, which has a noticeable increase in comparison to last year’s report. July 2014 closes with the hospital having just under $6.457 million, to last year’s $3.996 million. While this brings the hospital’s days-of-operation rounded to 165 days, Chief Financial Officer Bret Goebel clarified that this figure was not factual, as the hospital has not yet withdrawn the $2 million that are earmarked for the construction project. That financial figure will be reflected in next months report, for August’s financials.

Goebel reported that the hospital’s “bad debt” continues to drop, and for July, both Goebel and Sierra Vista Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michael Zimmerman expressed their shock of the figure to the board. Goebel provided that this was largely due to the new culture of the hospital when collecting payment for elective procedures. The hospital now collects payments prior to elective treatment, and will work with patients who are unable, not unwilling, to pay for elective services. Additionally, there is an increase of patients who are now covered under insurance who were otherwise uninsured and paying out of pocket.

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