ACRMC headed in ‘right direction’

The Adams County Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees held a public meeting July 28 and spoke about a number of topics concerning the hospital.

“From a financial standpoint and an operational standpoint we’re trending in the right direction,” Adams County Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Roland Gee said.

The year of 2015 has been very good the to ACRMC from a financial standpoint. From January to June the hospital saw rises in income each month and the hospital is far ahead of where they were a year ago.

“Six months in, six strong months so far,” ACRMC Chief Financial Officer Pete Dagenbach said. “We’ve seen rises for six consecutive months. June had a $142,000 net income. We are $1.2 million ahead from where we were at this point last year which is something everyone in this room should take some pride in.”

ACRMC has been able to achieve their financial success despite preforming fewer surgeries as they did last year. The board said their plans are to have surgeons perform more duties so as to not have them sitting on their hands.

“Surgeries have been down about 19 percent,” Dagenbach said. “We’re currently addressing this. We’re going to start having some surgeons either start to do cases or actually expanding their practices to accommodate more patients.”

Those patients will also be going through a new initial process of information gathering upon admission according to the board. The ACRMC has partnered with a Columbus group called CrossChx that takes fingerprints as part of a person’s medical file. The board says they are implementing this believing this cut down on medical fraud and mistakes with people with common names.

“Patients will be asked to register their fingerprint in our system,” ACRMC Chief Nursing Officer Rachel Cummings said. “It will have their fingerprint data along with their medical records so they don’t have duplicate medical records. Also it protects them from insurance fraud. So it just helps to make sure we can identify the correct patient so we don’t get mixed up with someone with the same name but different birth date kind of thing.”

A message asking for comment about privacy concerns of fingerprinting patients or course of action if a patient doesn’t wish to be fingerprinted were not returned in time for this issue.

The board also discussed ICD 10, which is a different classification system of diseases and injuries medical staff will have to familiarize themselves with quickly. The new system goes in place on Oct. 1 and will be included in all diagnoses in the future.

“This is basically the biggest change in medical coding in the last 30 years,” Dagenbach said. “This requires a very specific level of detail. Doctors are going to need to give an increased level of documentation. We’re expecting a lot of back and forth between our coders and doctors.”

Dagenbach said this change shouldn’t affect patient treatment, but may cause a delay in reimbursement for the hospital.

“It’s going to be a cash flow time issue to get reimbursed,” Dagenbach said. “We’re going to be really reliant on our physicians. Not only are we going to be relying on our coders to get to know the new code we’re going to be relying on our physicians to get us that information.”

Doctors are being given online training on ICD 10, which they can take during their own leisure.

By Charles Grove