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January 2024: A Transparent Update from Cogdell Memorial Hospital

By January 16, 2024No Comments

Welcome to the January 2024 Update for Cogdell Memorial Hospital

As we step into the new year, we at Cogdell Memorial Hospital remain steadfast in our commitment to transparency, excellence, and community service. Understanding the importance of clear and open communication, we’ve compiled this comprehensive FAQ to keep you informed about our current status, recent challenges, and the positive strides we’re making.

The healthcare landscape is ever-evolving, and Cogdell Memorial is navigating these changes with a focus on enhancing patient care, improving our operations, and strengthening our financial health. We believe in keeping our community – patients, staff, and stakeholders – informed and involved, as your trust and support are vital to our success.

Below, you’ll find detailed answers to some of the most pressing questions we’ve received. These responses reflect not just the realities we face but also underscore our resilience and dedication to providing the best healthcare services. We’re moving forward with determination, innovation, and a deep commitment to the well-being of everyone we serve.

Your feedback is invaluable to us, so please feel free to reach out if you have further questions or need more information. Together, we are stronger, and together, we will continue to make Cogdell Memorial Hospital a beacon of hope and health in our community.


Q: What is the status of the receipt of the supplemental funding expected by the hospital?

A:  Some FEMA funds have been received, but there has been a delay in the receipt of funds from two of the outstanding grants. We are still awaiting  funding from the Employee Retention Tax Credit program; that program was suspended  in the fall and the approval process will begin again in 2024. We are also awaiting the significant payment of back taxes as well. All hospitals are being hit from the loss of 340B funding, rising supply and repair costs,  and the difficulties posed by working with some of the Medicare Advantage insurance companies.

Q: How have the incidents concerning the computer breach impacted the hospital financially?

A: Obviously this has been very difficult. We were forced to go on diversion for some patient services and billing has been delayed by almost 12 weeks, so financial collections are down. The entire staff has worked diligently to try to maintain accurate records during the computer downtime and to make sure we meet filing deadlines with insurance companies.

Q: How have financial operations been in 2023?

A; Problems with the computer system together have delayed our monthly financials, but we are making progress in both regards. We’re pleased to have Robbie Dewberry and Sons engaged with our CFO and accounting work. Operationally, we have seen a decline in contract agency nursing use and have been able to hire applicants for several open positions, which has been favorable.

Q: There have been some rumors circulating that possibly millions of dollars were taken or embezzled from the hospital. Is this true?

A: No. There has been no evidence of funds having been embezzled from the hospital, following considerable investigation and review. However in September of 2023 we did discover a problem with the numbers input into the 2022 budget, and we believe discussion about these findings may have been the source of those rumors. Thankfully the error was discovered in time for us to pro-actively start making changes to the 2024 budget.

Q: Can you comment on the future of the hospital?

A: Funding delays, the cyber breach and other problems have understandably impacted our cash flow. However, over the past few weeks we have had an influx of patients, and it’s obvious there is a strong need for the our services. We have such a committed group of physicians, practitioners and staff members here to care for our patients. To quote a long-time healthcare CPA “Most hospitals don’t realize the importance of revenue, and CMH has always maintained patient revenue”. We have recruited some great new physicians and practitioners, and are actively hiring nurses and other associates, which is encouraging. Our employees have been very resilient. We have identified several cost-cutting measures to be phased into our 2024 budget year, many of which involve renegotiating better contract pricing. We are also working on ways to make care and processes more efficient. I think that will be on-going necessity for all hospitals and health care organizations in the health care climate we’re all facing.

Q: Please explain future plans for Cogdell Home Health and Hospice? Is Cogdell selling these businesses?

A: First and most importantly, we have to acknowledge the absolutely exceptional efforts of our home health and hospice staff. They have created wonderful service and support for our patients. Each of these staff members was essentially handpicked to provide quality, personalized care to our patients, which is always our most important priority.

Unfortunately, insurance companies and regulations don’t always understand the special challenges and expenses of providing home health care and hospice in rural areas, where it isn’t unusual to drive 25 miles between patient visits. We have also discovered that insurance companies pay us less for some services than what it costs us to provide those services…which isn’t really a winning strategy.

We’ve been monitoring payments and expenses since about June of 2023. While we’ve made some improvements, unfortunately it has become clear that we cannot continue to sustain these programs locally. The results of recent expert studies have recommended that we sale these businesses and allow another company to continue to provide home health and hospice locally in our community. At every turn we’ve been advised that it just isn’t feasible for rural hospitals to continue to operate their local agencies at this time, which is really unfortunate.

Our priorities are to find a reputable company willing to serve as a local provider and that they extend employment to our existing staff. We are beginning the process of taking bids from interested companies. Final proposals and bids will be reviewed by our Governing Board at the regularly scheduled board meeting on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 in the CMH board room.