Kennewick Public Hospital District approves budget for 2013

By Michelle Dupler, Tri-City HeraldNovember 9, 2012 

The Kennewick Public Hospital District Board on Thursday unanimously approved a 2013 budget that adds the equivalent of 26 1/2 new full-time jobs to the hospital and clinics the district operates.

The board also unanimously approved a 1 percent increase -- or about $11,700 -- in the amount of property tax it will collect from taxpayers living in the district next year.

The budget for the entire district -- which includes Kennewick General Hospital as well as the Kennewick Physicians Clinics -- assumes operating revenue of $163.9 million, expenses of $162.9 million, and slightly less than $1 million, or about 0.6 percent, in net revenues, the budget shows.

Almost $1.2 million of the district's revenues come from property taxes.

The budget projects the hospital itself will see an increase in net revenues of more than $6.8 million, or 5.5 percent. But the clinics are expected to see a loss of $5.9 million, or 15.7 percent.

Chief Financial Officer Jerry Paule told the Herald that's typical of clinics, and that the bottom line for the district's clinics are affected by the district's policy not to limit the number of Medicaid patients it takes in an era of decreasing Medicaid payments to doctors for health care provided.

"Fifteen percent is about the best we can do," he said.

The budget does not include the Southridge hospital project, which is being built by a private developer and will be leased by the hospital district when it's finished in 2014.

Major expenses affecting next year's bottom line include the introduction of new interventional cardiology services and the associated staff, the hiring of two new surgeons, and the addition of a third oncologist to the cancer treatment practice KGH started in 2010.

Overall, district expenses are expected to be up $10.5 million, or about 7 percent, for 2013, Paule said.

About half of that increase -- $4.8 million -- is in salaries and benefits for the additional jobs, plus budgeting for a 4 percent increase in pay for employees.

But Paule cautioned that even though the hospital is budgeting for 4 percent in increased pay, it might not actually spend all of that money.

Salaries and benefits account for $93.8 million, or about 57 percent, of the district's expenses.

The district also expects to spend an extra $2 million in supplies, mostly attributed to the anticipated activities of the new cardiologist, surgeons and oncologist, Paule said.

The district expects inpatient visits to remain flat compared with 2012, but does anticipate an increase in outpatient visits because of the new doctors.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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