DMHS Board holds last meeting before merger with Baptist Health


The Drew Memorial Health Systems Board of Directors held their November meeting at 12 p.m. on Monday, November 27, at the Monticello Country Club. This would be the final board meeting leading into the December 3 merger with Baptist Health. With all board members present, Chairman Mike Akin called the meeting to order. The board approved the quality and credentials that were presented in the executive session. The board then approved the minutes from the October board meeting.

Moving into the items on the agenda, the board called for an update from Cassie Wise from TruBridge. Wise reported that as of the end of October, was $9.4 million, which is on track with the yearly average which is around $9.42 million. She also reported that there has been an increase in uninsured/self-pay patients. Overall admissions for October was 4,200 which is a little lower than the average of 4,600. 

In October, the hospital had $2.3 million in cash collections, which was a little lower than expected, November is trending to reach between $2.6 to $2.7 million. This should help show some reduction in the Accounts Receivable. Medicare is the largest area of concern, due in part to a large backlog of uncoded services.

Wise also reported that over the past two months, the cash collection rate has been around 30 percent. This is likely to improve in November as the number of self-pay patients increases.

“Why over the last six months have we seen a monthly increase in our AG to the point that it is a 65 percent increase,” Board member Carl Lucky asked. “Why are we not collecting what is on the books? Is it fair for someone who is paying you guys money to not be pleased with a six-month continual growth in this backlog? Regardless of you having people who have left, it is your job to make sure this is being collected on. Since May we are at $600,000 to $700,000 increase in the backlog. Tell me why we shouldn’t be upset about that. Why haven’t you figured out a way to solve this in the past six months when you can see it increasing every month?”

Wise said that due to staff turnover and the Baptist merger, they (TruBridge) didn’t know who they were working with. With DMHS merging with Baptist, they will go to the EPIC system, and all billing, coding, and collections will be handled in-house. TruBridge will take on a “clean up” role and work to eliminate the backlog.

Chief Financial Officer Melody Colwell gave the October financial report. She said that admissions were up compared to last October. There were 150 in 2023 compared to 118 in 2022, but the 2023 number was lower than last month. 2023 deliveries are at 168 compared to 137 in 2022. So far in November, there have been 24, the expectation of 60 deliveries this month isn’t going to happen.

Inpatient surgeries are about the same as this time last year. Outpatient surgeries are down roughly 20 percent.

Expenses were under budget by $66,000. The hospital saw a cash decrease of $2.2 million. Approximately $1.3 million of this decrease was due to the hospital making two of the four payments to CERNER in October. Another $286,000 went towards the 401K match for employees. These two items made up the majority of the cash decrease. With no questions for Colwell, the board voted to approve the financial report.

The next item on the agenda was to discuss a resolution regarding the hospital’s 401K plan. In moving to the Baptist 401K, DMHS Chief Executive Officer Scott Barrilleaux said that the hospital has been advised that they should terminate their current 401K plan effective December 1. This would move the date up by one month, and would still allow the employees to receive their 401K match payment. The board unanimously agreed to pass the resolution.

“I want to announce a couple of things,” Barrilleaux said. “When we were looking at how operations would work out during this process, some things have occurred that I think is going to be really good for us.”

Barrilleaux stated that Stacy Ludlow, who runs the Sleep Center, would be moving into the role of manager for both the surgery clinic and specialty clinic, along with continuing her duties in the sleep center.

He also noted that Misty Wilhite will be moving into the role of manager for the Home Health program.

The board announced that the merger will be effective on Sunday, December 3, and that the official ribbon cutting will take place at 10 a.m. on Monday, December 4, at the main entrance of the hospital.

With no further business, the board adjourned until a day and time that will be announced at a later date.