Kennewick hospital board adopts $134M budget

The Kennewick Public Hospital District's board Thursday unanimously adopted a $134.6 million operating budget for 2011 that includes a 1 percent increase in tax collections from district property owners.

The district expects to bring in about $1.1 million in taxes in 2010, but that's only a small fraction of the hospital's overall revenues.

The 1 percent increase amounts to a little more than $10,000 in additional revenue for the hospital budget, said Spencer Harris, hospital controller.

Harris estimated the hospital will earn about $132 million in net revenues from patients. That does not include $7 million budgeted for charity care for patients who cannot pay.

Projections of net patient revenues are up about $10 million, or 8 percent, compared with 2010.

Operating expenses are up by $9.1 million, or 7 percent, over 2010.

Harris told the board some of the main factors accounting for the rising expenditures are expected increases in costs of medical and surgical supplies, implants, pharmaceuticals and food.

Admissions, which are forecast to have dropped slightly in 2010 according to information presented to the board, are expected to rise about 1 percent in 2011 from 5,756 to 5,819.

KGH officials also expect about a 1 percent increase in the number of patient days. The hospital forecasts 18,363 patient days for 2010 and expects that to rise to 18,563 in 2011.

Patient days is 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.

Harris said KGH is somewhat constrained in its ability to increase patient days by bed capacity.

"Many times throughout the year we just can't take any more patients," he said.

The biggest growth in patient days is expected in the medical/surgical and pediatric units.

KGH officials also expect almost 3 percent more emergency room visits in 2011 versus 2010.

This year's projection is for 35,695 ER visits. The hospital projects 36,409 visits in 2011.

But the biggest growth is expected in the hospital's physician clinics, which in 2010 are likely to have seen a 10.5 percent increase over 2009, from about 167,000 visits to about 186,000.

Harris told the board KGH is projected to see a 27 percent increase in 2011, with an annual expected total of almost 237,000 clinic visits.

The budget adopted Thursday only reflects current expenses. It does not include capital money budgeted for construction of a new hospital in Kennewick's Southridge neighborhood.

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