Best month, but Jackson Health System ink still red
By Ashley Hopkins
Despite growing in-patient volume and $130.9 million operating revenue that led to the best month of the year, scrambling Jackson Health System fell short of the $33 million needed to make ends meet in March, leaving officials scraping for $35 million from the state entering another difficult budget year.
Reports Tuesday to the Financial Recovery Board revealed that on March 31 the county-owned hospital had $89.4 million in cash and investments and 21 days of cash on hand. While Jackson had 19.6 days of cash in February, last March it could cover 22.6 days.
In-patient revenues have risen, with $254.2 million collected throughout March, up from February's $226.2 million.
Although numbers are improving, Jackson hasn't hit sustainability. While operating revenue rose from $108.9 million in February to $130.9 million in March, in March 2010 the hospital pulled in $135.2 million.
Painfully, operating expenses are also rising. In March they hit $164.1 million, up from $149.2 million in February and $161.4 million in March 2010.
Mark Knight, Jackson's chief financial officer, said March has been the fiscal year's strongest month. If trends continue, he said, he expects to report $92.4 million in cash and investments and 22 days of cash on hand as of April 30.
While Gov. Rick Scott has agreed to release $35 million in stimulus funds to help support operations at the cash-strapped hospital, according to Carlos Migoya, Jackson's CEO, hospital officials should receive an update on the status of the funds today (6/2).
Mr. Migoya said Jackson officials will hold departmental budget hearings and meet with the county commission throughout June to discuss the next year's budget.
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