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this week, the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center Board of Directors reviewed a reduction in anticipated revenues for the start of 2022, due to several factors.

Lesley Fagerberg, Vice President of Fiscal Services commented: “One month, just one month into a brand new year, it doesn’t really carry a lot of weight, but it is what it is….”

Fagerberg noted that HRRMC saw a downturn in gross revenues for the month, on the inpatient side, but saw a good start to the year with most of the district clinics, she said.

She noted that Surgery revenues, one of the most important from a bottom-line perspective were adversely affected by multiple factors.  They included facility challenges, staffing, and provider challenges resulting in a high number of surgery cancellations for the month not seen in recent history. The month coincided with high rates of the COVID-19 Omicron variant (some of the highest of the entire pandemic) as well.

Part of the facility challenges was the failing boiler system that resulted in several scheduled surgery cancellations (see separate boiler story). “Hopefully, it was just a blip,” she said, “and we so far we are on track for the month of February.”

Those cancellations and other issues resulted in medical center revenues being a couple of hundred thousand dollars under budget projections.

Unrealized gain on investments of about $143,000 Fagerberg said was a reduction mainly only on paper, “…so it isn’t a material factor, it isn’t a concern, it’s a necessary accounting practice as our investments test the market value constantly and I’m sure everybody’s aware of the volatility in the markets at the moment,” Fagerberg noted.

The net operating income for the month was about $200,000 below budget expectations.

Another revenue factor was the lack of funding usually seen, about $50,000 from the Hospital Foundation because there was no Gala held last year due to COVID-19.

The board also heard from Michelle Mills, CEO of the Colorado Rural Health Center, the state health association which operates as a nonprofit representing the interests of real healthcare providers. The organization facilitates several programs in support of rural health providers and lobbies for legislation.

The organization also supports activities such as the state eHealth program to improve information exchange, and technical assistance to rural communities and many others.

Mills said ten top priorities have been established such as workforce improvement and retention; reimbursement; primary care access and delivery; telehealth access and reimbursement; COVID issues and the like.

CEO Bob Morasko updated the board on efforts including cost estimates for planned employee housing, with a site survey planned for both the hospital campus and two acres near the Highway 50 Clinic. Cost estimates for housing and a patient hospitality house will follow the surveys. HRRMC Foundation Director Lezlie Burkley reported the Foundation Board made recommendations to the HRRMC Board regarding the specifications for the hospitality house.

As reported last month, Morasko continues meeting with Cassia, a faith-based assisted living provider based in Minnesota, as well as city and county officials on the potential for establishing an assisted/independent living complex and how to fund construction costs.