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The Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center Board met on Tuesday, November 22, and approved a 2023 budget that projects future growth and set a new district mill tax levy.

Vice President of Fiscal Services Lesley Fagerberg presented the complex budget outline, crediting the work of the Finance Committee in reviewing the documents with her for three hours.

2023 Budget Revenues of $138,011,900 vs. Operating Expenses of $139,182,606 Drive Mill Levy Increase

HRRMC 2023 Revenue Allocations. Curtesy image

Balancing the budget will require property tax revenues of $1,170,706, meaning a district mill levy of 1.781 mills, a 6.5 percent increase over the 2022 levy, for each dollar of total assessed valuation of property within the hospital district in Chaffee, Fremont and Saguache counties.

The assessed value totals $657,350,316, which is just 1.2 percent higher than the previous year’s valuation.

The board passed the budget, appropriation of funds, and the mill levy unanimously.

The volume of services provided is projected at a 9.1 percent increase in key growth areas and an associated 11.5 percent hike in inpatient care staff hours.

The plan anticipates growth in additional providers at physician clinics, and rural health clinics, as well as growth at the Salida campus in urology, cardiology, pain management, general surgery, and dermatology.

Hospital Charges, Significant Expense Increases and Staffing Changes

HRRMC 2023 Operating Budget Expenses. Courtesy image

Fagerberg said hospital charges under the plan will increase an average of 4.3 percent, of which it expects to collect only approximately 1.3 percent to offset expense increases.

These include an increase of about 12.2 percent in support staff hours; a 10-20 percent hike in salaries and a 12.5 percent increase in total employee benefits. It also includes increases of four to 12 percent in medical and other supplies and an 18 percent anticipated increase in maintenance, utilities, insurance, and other operating costs.

Budget projections include an increase in total employee numbers from an estimated 621 at the end of the year to 678 by the end of 2023; meaning total full-time equivalents (FTE) rise from 503 to 562, an 11.7 percent increase.

Fagerberg noted factors that could adversely impact budget projections for next year include what may happen with national economic trends, including supply chains and inflation factors; critical staff shortages; physician recruitment/retention and provider relations, and potential impacts of COVID-19.

CEO Report

In his report, CEO Bob Morasko said despite some negotiation difficulties, the district was close to an agreement to take over South Park Health District clinic operations from HealthONE.

Morasko also reported that two cost estimates have been received from contractors for a patient hospitality house and employee housing. Site plans are complete for the hospital campus and a two-acre site near the Highway 50 complex. Cost estimates and building plans will be reviewed later by the HRRMC board and HRRMC Foundation board.

A potential joint venture between HRRMC and the city and county, for senior living facilities with Cassia, a religious-based group in Minnesota, has been put on hold. Morasko said the hold was due to increased construction costs and a smaller scope without apparently, county participation.

Featured image: Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center. Dan Smith photo.