Boston’s fictional St. Eligius Hospital, better known to fans of the TV series as “St. Elsewhere.” (Image courtesy MTM Entertainment)
Weeks after layoff announcements Hughey leaves post
Mammoth Hospital Chief Financial Officer (CFO) James Hughey has resigned his position, effective at the end of this month.
Hughey, who had made a two-year commitment to the Southern Mono Hospital District (SMHD) Board upon his hiring, quit after just three months on the job.
Fortunately for Hospital CEO Gary Boyd, the other finalist for the position was still available and was quickly hired, David Rollins, the CFO of Southern Coos Hospital in Bandon, Ore.
There were a few factors which contributed to Hughey’s resignation. Boyd said “the impact of living in a small town was more than he realized.”
In other words, the single guy from the city missed his friends as well the lifestyle.
But the bigger factor was simply opportunity. San Mateo County Medical Center, a hospital five times the size of Mammoth, wants Hughey to be its CFO.
It was an offer he couldn’t refuse, and a choice that SMHD Board Chairman Don Sage said he understood.
Given his lame duck status, Hughey may have felt more latitude at his final Board meeting Thursday to give the Board the unvarnished truth about some numbers and trends he finds disturbing.
47% of the Hospital’s outstanding A/R (Accounts Receivables) are over 120 days old. The actual number is $7.4 million.
Another $1.3 million in A/R is between 90 to 120 days old.
The Hospital’s A/R average is 79 days, down from 81 days a year ago.
By contrast, national averages are in the 50s, said Hughey.
He also said the hospital’s “cost of billing” runs about 10% compared to a national average of 3% to 4%.
He said a full 60% (not a misprint) of bills sent out are incorrect, and 30% of patient access data (information collected from patients at point of contact) contains at least one error.
New billing software, expected to be operational by September, will fix much of the problem, but patient access, he said, must improve.
“How much more training do you do? If the zip code’s wrong, the zip code’s wrong.”
If Les Perpall, Director of Ancillary Services at Mammoth Hospital, and David Bolton, Revenue Cycle Manager, can’t fix these problems immediately, Hughey suggested that the Board find a person or outside company who can.
Finally, in regards to The Sheet story two weeks ago, the Hospital did not have to force any layoffs, as CEO Boyd said the Hospital received 24 to 25 applications for voluntary separations.
The Hospital accepted all applications received.
Hughey urged the Board not to backslide and let the FTEE (full-time employee equivalent) number creep up anytime soon. As he said two weeks ago, the Hospital’s current staffing standard of 2 hours per patient visit is above virtually every standard out there.
That number is reached by taking the total number of of patients divided by the total number of Hospital FTEEs.
An outside entity, said Hughey, would have recommended far more layoffs than were ultimately decided upon by the Board.