The Wrangell Medical Center is slowly recovering from a financial crisis that became apparent at the end of last year, but its financial problems are not over.
That’s what Wrangell Medical Center CEO Marla Sanger told the hospital’s board of directors and the Wrangell Borough Assembly this week.
“We’re back to a more stable place but still watching things very closely,” Sanger said.
Sanger says the hospital has been able to keep itself afloat, but the hospital operated at a loss last month.
The community hospital had about $574,000 cash on hand at the end of February. That’s up from the end of November, when WMC had $123,374 on hand, and hospital officials worried they wouldn’t be able to cover payroll.
Sanger told the hospital board it may still need financial assistance from the borough in the future, but the hospital is managing on its own for now. The borough helped the medical center make payroll once in the past.
WMC has also had problems with accounts receivable (AR). That amount is decreasing, but it is still close to $4 million. Chief Financial Officer Olinda White has said she won’t be comfortable until AR drops to about half of its current level.
The slow pace of Medicaid payments was a major contributor to the hospital’s AR problem, but that system is slowly improving.
Sanger said the hospital has cut expenses for travel, utilities and phone use, but insurance and legal costs are increasing.
WMC is still working towards building a new hospital. The Foraker Group CEO Dennis McMillian is coming to Wrangell to discuss predevelopment opportunities.
Sanger said the whole community is invited to the April 2 meeting to talk about the sustainability of Wrangell’s health care system.
“It’s just to re-engage the community in what’s going on in our health care delivery system, what we’re trying to do to improve it, to move it forward, and our need for a new hospital,” Sanger said.
Sanger said McMillian indicated the hospital project would likely qualify for predevelopment services.