Hospital catching up on accounting issues

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

By Samantha Jones

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

Under the guidance of Alliance Management Group, Eureka Springs Hospital is cleaning up its accounting processes.

Alliance representative Darrell Parke told the Eureka Springs Hospital Commission on Monday night that he has moved his focus from the clinical side of the hospital to the business office. Alliance understood the accounting issues were complex when taking over management of the hospital, Parke said, but the scope of the issues has surprised him.

"What we determined is the former management company really let a lot of things go that are taking us a lot more time to clean up than what we expected," Parke said.

Parke said he's talking about "thousands and thousands of transactions," saying the former director of admissions has moved into the accounts receivable specialist position.

"On accounts receivable in the last two or three days, we've collected about $210,000 so far of the first charges that have been pushed through the system," Parke said. "I'm really proud of those ladies who are working on accounts receivable, accounts payable and cleaning this mess up. It's a mess."

Chairman John House asked chief financial officer Scott Stone if the hospital is getting "closer to the ins and outs matching up" and Stone said that hasn't happened quite yet.

"We have charges of $3.3 million. We do anticipate quite a bit coming in the next few weeks," Stone said. "I think we're in good shape. We do have accounts payable paid off that we took over from [former management company] Allegiance, and the larger ticket stuff I think we're getting close."

Parke acknowledged that he has been "kind of pushing people a little too hard" at the hospital. He recalled a conversation with treasurer Barbara Dicks where he gained some perspective on what the hospital employees have experienced.

"I know how limited our funding is. We need to get on top of this really hard and fast," Parke said. "I forget the fact that these people have been through a lot. I will back off and I will recalculate my work. I don't want to upset anybody. Like I told Barbara, sometimes you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet."

"I told him he had to crack them softly or he'd have shells in his omelet," Dicks said.

Parke said the hospital is doing well testing for COVID-19.

"The staff are doing great with COVID-19. More people are wanting to be tested," Parke said. "We've had a few more positive patients, not a lot. This side of the county seems to be doing really well."

The hospital has hit a snag with leasing the GeneXpert machine, which the commission agreed to lease on May 26. Parke said the hospital can't lease the machine like the commission had hoped.

"The company is slow to process. They're not used to an outright purchase, and we were rejected on our lease because of our history prior to you guys taking over," Parke said.

"So they don't want our money?" asked commissioner Christopher Baranyk.

"At this point, I'd say yes but they aren't hurting for money right now," Parke said. "They do not have that infrastructure to just sell a product. They've never done that."

Parke said he's determined to figure that out and moved on to update the hospital on the return of Dr. Paul Daidone.

"We're retooling the hospitalist position. [Daidone] has more tools he can play with," Parke said.

In other business, Dicks presented the financial report. Dicks said the commission has $1,198,437.13 in money market, saying the CD and checking account haven't changed since the last report. The commission's total assets are $1,640,697.74, Dicks said.

Also at the meeting, House welcome new commissioner Jean Reed. Reed said she moved to Eureka Springs three years ago after working for more than 40 years in healthcare, including clinical, management, training, sales and marketing.

"I'm glad to help the commission," Reed said.

The commission's next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 17, at 25 Norris St.

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