The Kennewick Public Hospital District Board on Thursday unanimously approved a 2012 budget that adds 30 new jobs to the hospital and clinics the district operates, and does not raise the district's fees for health care.
The board also unanimously approved a 1 percent increase -- or about $10,000 -- 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 $160.6 million, expenses of $155 million, and a $5.6 million, or about 3.5 percent, net margin after expenses, said Jerry Paule, the district's CFO.
About $1.1 million of the district's revenues come from property taxes.
The district projects having $11.8 million cash on hand at the end of 2012, or enough money to operate the district for just under 31 days.
The revenue projection is about 9 percent higher than 2011, primarily because of the rising number of patients at the Kennewick Physicians Clinics, Paule said.
"Over the past five years, Kennewick Physicians Clinics have successfully recruited over 40 physicians, and this year (clinic) visits will exceed 200,000 for the first time," Paule said. "These physician clinics and patients are, in turn, driving the unprecedented growth at the hospital."
The district anticipates nearly 216,000 patient visits to its clinics in 2012, up 11 percent from 2011's forecast of about 194,000 visits, which is based on actual numbers through September and projections for October through December. The clinics had about 178,000 patient visits last year.
KGH also is expected to have 19,571 patient days in 2012, up1.6 percent from 2011. Patient days are a measurement unit used by hospitals to track occupancy. One patient in a bed for one day equals one patient day, while 50 patients each occupying a bed for a day equals 50 patient days.
Actual patient days have been running higher than budget forecasts. At this time last year, the district estimated 18,363 patient days in 2010 and 18,563 in 2011, but saw 18,960 actual patient days last year and now estimates 19,264 by the end of 2011.
The biggest growth in patient days is expected in the Family Birthing Center, where a 5 percent increase is expected from this year to next. Increases of1 percent or slightly less are projected in all other hospital areas.
Of the 30 new jobs, 24 will be at KGH and 6 will be at the clinics, including two new clinic doctors. The district also plans to recruit another 50 physicians during the next five years in anticipation of opening a new hospital at Southridge, Paule said.
Salaries and benefits account for $88.4 million, or 57 percent, of the district's budget.