Strong outpatient revenues contributed to a positive bottom line in the first month of Winneshiek Medical Center's fiscal year.

At last week's meeting of the WMC Board of Trustees, Chief Financial Officer Lynn Luloff explained July's total patient revenues of $6.8 million are 13.8 percent above July 2012.

"That represents growth," Luloff told the Board.

Luloff said $5.3 million in revenue on the hospital side, fell $45,000 under projections, it was still 11 percent above last July.

In addition, Decorah Clinic - Mayo Health Systems revenue of $1.5 million were 25 percent above last July.

"New providers that started in July helped generate a 20-percent increase in Clinic visits," said Luloff, noting the addition of James Ott, M.D. in family practice, and Bridgette Hensley, Psy. D. (clinical psychologist).

Luloff explained while operating expenses ran 11.4 percent over July of last year, they were still slightly under revenues.

"It is important each month that our increase in net patient service revenue (13 percent in July) is higher than our increase in operating expenses (11.4 percent) in order to generate operating gains," said Luloff.

The Medical Center recorded a net gain of $57,792 in July.

Equipment requests

In a related matter, the Board approved six capital equipment requests for building and grounds for a total of $220,300.

These include a storage shed to replace the shipping container currently used to store medical waste, a lawn mower replacement for a mower that is almost 20 years old, a heating, ventilating and cooling (HVAC) upgrade to six patient rooms, the replacement of some carpet in the medical/surgical corridor, an upgrade to the controls and air handler for the kitchen and a controls upgrade for the clinic HVAC system.

The Board also approved a request for two items for the ambulance department at a total cost of $113,682.

The department will purchase three state-of-the-art monitors to be used to monitor patients' oxygen levels and respiration in a pre-hospital setting.

Finally, the Board approved the purchase and implementation of an electronic medical record (EMR) for the Home Health and Hospice department for a total of $34,900.

Chief Nursing Officer Linda Klimesh explained many home health/Hospice patients take more than 20 medications. The new system will allow nurses to chart their patients as they go, rather than having to carry large volumes of paperwork with them in their vehicles. This will help enhance the security of patient information, as all laptops containing the EMRs will be encrypted.

"This is absolutely critical. The paperwork Hospice does is unending and time consuming," said Board Member Karl Jacobsen.