Archived Story

Hospital board works to cut expenses

Published 5:22pm Friday, August 30, 2013

financial officer likely will save the authority hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The board met Thursday, discussing, among other things, Medicaid and Medicare audits (2008 and 2009) and attempting to settle differences concerning expenses and reimbursements related to Medicaid- and Medicare-related cost centers. Because of that perseverance — and significant assistance from Vidant Beaufort Hospital staff — the authority may have to pay Medicare less than $1,000 — instead of about $465,000 as initially estimated — to cover expenses related to audit findings.

The authority handles matters related to the Washington hospital before it was acquired by Vidant Health.

Board Chairman Hood Richardson, also a Beaufort County Commissioner, persuaded the board to give Dick Reif, the authority’s chief financial office and the former chief financial officer of the former Beaufort County Hospital, the authority to “clean up” the authority’s accounts related to the operation of the Washington hospital before it was taken over by Vidant Health.

During a conference call Thursday, Reif discussed the Medicaid and Medicare adjustments with the board, including an adjustment regarding the authority’s self-insurance plan.

“We don’t know the outcome of that particular adjustment at this point. We hope to continue contesting it, and hope to win our point of view,” Reif said. “I don’t recall the exact expenses involved. It’s a complex accounting process I would say it’s probably over a million dollars in expenses, which they would like to have removed from the cost report,” he said. “We certainly don’t want that to happen because of the settlement on the 2008 (audit), but if we accept that then you’re going to have the same process in ’09, ’10 and ’11. So, we’re obviously not happy with that adjustment. … I know we will not owe the $202,000, but we don’t know what that (lower) number will ultimately be.”

Richardson noted that Reif had mentioned a million dollars during his remarks.

“That sort of got my attention,” Richardson said.

“That’s the cost. That’s the cost on the books. By the time you go down and identify how much of that cost relates to the Medicaid program, that number changes quite a bit. That’s not the reimbursement impact. That’s the cost that was carried on the books at the hospital,” Reif said.

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