Treasurer Barb Conine, Vice President Bernie Massin and new hospital CEO Robert Rang lead the regular meeting of the Wrangell Medical Center Board of Directors on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015.

Wrangell Medical Center is in good financial shape after the community-owned hospital almost ran out of cash last year.

The hospital’s chief financial officer told the board of directors Wednesday the hospital’s financial situation has greatly improved over the last few months.

CFO Doran Hammett  said small rural hospitals are never really “out of the woods” in financial matters.

“But we’re certainly much further ahead than we were just a few months ago,” Hammett said. “And we think the trend is going to continue as our own staff become more and more familiar with the new billing system, and we work together with the company that we’ve chosen to do that. And they’re doing an excellent job.”

Last winter, the hospital almost ran out of cash on hand. That’s partly because over $4 million was owed to the hospital. At the end of last November, Wrangell Medical Center had just $123,374 to spend on running the hospital.

Now, that number is close to $900,000, and it’s been growing since a billing service was brought in this summer to help the hospital collect on its outstanding bills. And money owed to the hospital has decreased by almost $500,000 since July.

The hospital also paid off half of its debt to vendors over the last month.

Hammett said his goal is to double the hospital’s cash on hand by the end of the year.

This was also the first hospital board meeting for the new CEO. Robert Rang started working at Wrangell Medical Center this month, and he said he is very pleased so far.

“We’ve got a very good staff there, so that makes my life a lot easier to start out,” Rang said. “The challenges we have are very minimal. A lot of them are not going to be easy fixes, but it’s nothing I haven’t experienced before, and it’s not unique to Wrangell.”

Rang told the board one of his first priorities is to fill the vacant Director of Nursing position.

Outgoing CEO Marla Sanger told the board the transition to a new CEO is going smoothly.