Officials give update on financial status of West Tennessee Healthcare

JACKSON, Tenn. — Fiscal Year 2020 for West Tennessee Healthcare was supposed to be a rebuilding year, since the two previous years they acquired Tennova Healthcare and converted their ambulatory and revenue systems.

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The first eight months of the past fiscal year, they were on track. Then COVID-19 hit West Tennessee.

“80 million dollars in revenue loss compared to what we would expected before COVID,” said Jeff Blankenship, Chief Financial Officer of West Tennessee Healthcare.

These graphs show the number of in-patient discharges, surgery cases, the emergency room volume and ambulatory visits.

They all took a serious hit in February and March and weren’t back to normal until mid-June.

Then, Representative Chris Todd had a question about the hospital getting paid for positive COVID patients.

“Even if they’re in for something else, if they test positive, that’s a bonus for the hospital for the facility,” Todd said. “I wondered if that had changed since the last time you checked on it?”

Amy Garner, the chief compliance officer for West Tennessee Healthcare, said Medicare did change their payments, but comparing May to January, it was only a 20% increase.

“On those particular cases, the total payment was only $12,000 to start with, and so if you pump that up 20% we’re getting about $14,000,” Garner said.

Health officials also pointed out the amount they’re having to spend on those patients is also more than a non-COVID patient.

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James Ross, CEO and President of West Tennessee Healthcare, says they are seeing some improvement, but they’re not out of the woods yet.

“This continues to help us have jobs,” Ross said. “And helps us continue to have cash flow to be able to do the things we need to do.”

“Our ability to adapt and evolve will be key over the next few years,” Blankenship added.

West Tennesee Healthcare is also continuing to work on TEMA and FEMA grants to get more funding.

Categories: COVID-19 Updates, Local News, News