Petaluma Health Care District Assesses Ways To Increase Hospital’s Profit Margins
The Petaluma Health Care District is examining ways to increase the financial viability of Petaluma Valley Hospital after predictions that the hospital's profit margin will decline this fiscal year, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. In fiscal year 2002, the hospital reported a profit of $1.4 million, the highest in years, according to Andrea Learned, an executive with the St. Joseph Health System, which operates the hospital. She attributed the increased profit to improved billing and collection, more effective management of employees' costs and higher prices for hospital services. However, the hospital, which has a budget of $49.7 million, expects a profit of $61,000 for the current fiscal year, in part because of a new contract with the hospital's nurses that provides raises of 25% during the next 30 months. The health district is considering ways to counter the decrease in profit, including building a new medical office complex near the hospital as an "indirect inducement" to recruit physicians to the hospital, the Press Democrat reports. The health district also is considering expanding its Lifeline service, an electronic system that gives people the ability to push a button on a device they wear to request medical assistance. Decisions on the expansion of hospital services likely will be made during the next year, with a decision on the new medical office building possibly coming sooner, according to Damon Doss, the health district's executive director (Sanchez, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.