The Canyonlands Health Care Special Service District voted at their Thursday, Nov. 21 meeting to give $240,000 ‘seed’ funding to Moab Regional Hospital in order for it to receive Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments from the state.

Grand County Council voted during their Nov. 6 meeting to give the health care district $100,000 to be given on behalf of the hospital for DSH reimbursement.

DSH payments are for hospitals that serve a significant number of low-income patients. The federal money is given to states, which is then distributed to hospitals based on both need and community support.

“For every dollar that is given, we receive three dollars back. One third must come from a local source,” said Jen Sadoff, Moab Regional Hospital’s marketing director.

With the $240,000 money, Moab Regional Hospital will be able to receive $720,000. The hospital may receive additional DSH funding due to individual donations. Sadoff said that $130,000 has been pledged by community members.

Craig Daniel, Moab Regional Hospital’s chief financial officer, was informed by the state that the hospital now qualifies for $870,000 in DSH funding if $290,000 in seed funding is provided by the community. When the allocation is made in December, Moab Regional Hospital will be informed whether they can apply for additional DSH funds.

In 2012 the City of Moab and Grand County donated $277,000 of seed money in order for the hospital to be reimbursed $877,000 from the state. After the allocation the hospital received notice that due to the high volume of Medicaid patients, it was eligible for an additional $1 million in DSH funding. The hospital quickly raised $350,000 in private donations for seed money to receive the additional $1 million, Sadoff said.

The DSH funding is to compensate for losses the hospital has experienced as a result of providing services to low-income county residents.

“One of the things I would highlight, just last year, in 2012, we gave $4.9 million in uncompensated care,” Sadoff said.

Approximately 85-percent of the $4,901,645 of charity care and bad debt that the hospital wrote off last year was for residents of Grand County, not visitors, Sadoff said.

“Our community has a really high percentage of people on Medicaid,” Sadoff said. “I think it’s a reflection of the economy. We are definitely seeing a big increase in bad debt.”

Joey Allred, the chair of the health care district, works with elderly residents as an independent living specialist.

“I’ve been glad to see an increase in actively helping members within the community, to access relief.” Allred said.

Sadoff said that the charity care program at the hospital has always existed.

“We’ve made an effort to make sure people know about it,” Sadoff said.

In 2012 the county council allocated additional mineral lease, Payment-in-lieu of Taxes (PILT) and bonus money to the health care district due to the financial crisis the Canyonlands Care Center was facing. According to last year’s estimates, the health care district would have received $515,000 during 2013. Instead, due to increases in oil and gas leases in Grand County, they have already received $1,126,068. They still have two more payments remaining to be received for the year.

Due to the increase of mineral lease monies, sale of property and increased efficiencies in operating costs at the care center, the health district has been able to pay off considerable debt, as well as have two years’ worth of bond service on the care center building in reserves.

As of Dec. 31, 2012 the care center had an operational debt of $604,587, said Tom Lacey, the care center’s accountant. As of the health care district board meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21, only $279,997 remained, and that was to the Moab Regional Hospital for food and laundry services.

District board members debated whether paying the debt in full at their Thursday, Nov. 21 meeting.

When Mike Bynum, the chair of the hospital’s board of directors, was told that district could pay the debt in full, he said that he appreciated the effort to pay the loan, but preferred to have the district contribute DSH seed money instead.

“We need to ask your help with this,” Bynum said, referring to the DSH seed money. “We are happy to be open with loan repayment terms.”

Councilman Ken Ballantyne, the health care district’s treasurer, wanted to pay the debt in full.

“My only concern is, we owe the money,” Ballantyne said. “I’m not interested in entering an agreement to pay interest.”

The rest of the board opted to pay all but $100,000 of the debt, in order to keep cash reserves available.

Ballantyne said that he wants the debt paid in December, when additional mineral lease monies will be received by the health care district.

“I want it out of the way,” he said.

The health care district also discussed whether to work with providers to either lease or manage the care center. Three outside care providers, as well as Moab Regional Hospital, have expressed interest in operating the care center.

The board voted to create a subcommittee regarding a lease Request for Proposal (RFP), working with attorneys to develop a lease RFP, and to contact interested parties regarding the possibility of leasing the facility. The board previously drafted a management RFP.

“One of the things I would highlight, just last year, in 2012, we gave $4.9 million in uncompensated care.” Jen Sadoff, Moab Regional Hospital marketing

Healthcare:  Funds come from Special Service District; Canyonlands Care Center finances stabilize