Hospital’s Medicare transfer is complete

Thursday, May 21, 2020

By Samantha Jones

Eureka Springs Hospital can start receiving funds from Medicare now.

On Monday night, Alliance Management Group representative Darrell Parke told the Eureka Springs Hospital Commission that the hospital’s Medicare transfer is complete. Getting the transfer approved means the hospital can start billing Medicare, Parke said, which would bring in more revenue for the facility. The commission voted on April 27 to liquidate a $1.5 million CD to help the hospital get by until the Medicare transfer was complete, with chief financial officer Scott Stone saying the hospital spends roughly $450,000 a month.

Stone reiterated that statement on Monday night, this time saying he’s excited to be making “pretty good progress” with accounts payable now that the hospital can bill for Medicare.

“We’re probably down to $125,000 of old accounts payable,” Stone said.

In other business, Stone said the hospital has received a grant totaling more than $3 million to help with COVID-19 relief. Stone said the funds can be spent on lost revenue because of the virus and said he’s looking into exactly how the hospital can use the money.

Lab director Tina Adams suggested using some of the money to purchase a GeneXpert, a state-of-the-art machine to test for COVID-19. Adams said the GeneXpert’s results are accurate 98 percent of the time.

Adams said the GeneXpert wouldn’t just test for COVID-19.

“There’s multiple tests it could do on top of COVID-19,” Adams said.

House asked Stone if the equipment would be covered under the grant money and Stone said it would.

“Basically anything that’s COVID-related … that helps us going forward,” Stone said. “We can use the money for that.”

House asked if the commission needs to spend the money as soon as possible and Stone said there isn’t a specific timeline.

“The only thing I have to do is account for it over the year, but I don’t have a specific deadline for it,” Stone said.

Commissioner Tyson Burden said he supports the idea of purchasing the GeneXpert, saying he’s researched it “quite a bit.” Burden mentioned a study by New York University that compared the GeneXpert with another machine.

“This is the gold standard machine,” Burden said. “Nobody else in the country will have a better machine for testing for COVID-19. I think that’s important to bring up. This test is the one they are using to actually determine whether or not someone has COVID-19.”

Burden added, “Hopefully, we can build some faith around this test. It’s a good machine.”

Also at the meeting, commissioner Christopher Baranyk addressed concerns that he’s not doing enough for the hospital. Baranyk said he plans to work with patients at the hospital moving forward and issued a challenge to the rest of the commission to get involved in a similar way.

“Everyone wants to be critical that … I don’t like the idea of working in the ER,” Baranyk said. “I am pleased to inform you that I am willing to walk the walk and talk the talk. For all my non-physicians in this room, I challenge you to work with the Purple House and help them out.”

Baranyk continued, “I challenge you to step up. It’s easy to talk about it. It’s not so easy to do it. I’d like to see all of us working with active staff, and I think the Purple House ladies would love the company to help our auxiliary. That’s my challenge to everybody.”

The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 15.

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