The Seminole Hospital District finished their 2013 fiscal year with a net loss of $686,794, according to an external audit report received Monday evening by SHD Board Directors in their regular semi-monthly meeting held at the Memorial Hospital Campus.

Despite being in the red, the Seminole accounting firm of Davis, Ray and Co. gave the local medical entity their highest audit grading -- an "unmodified" opinion.

"In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the respective, financial position of the Seminole Hospital District of Gaines County, as of September 30, 2013, and the respective changes in net position, and cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America," said a letter from Davis, Ray and Co. in a letter addressed in the independent auditor's report obtained by the Seminole Sentinel.

According to audit figures, the Seminole Hospital District's total combined net position was $23.91 million as of Sept. 30. 

During the FY 2013 year, the SHD's expenses were $687,000 more than the $40.6 million generated in taxes, patient revenues and other revenues of the district. In addition, the SHD invested $4.98 million in plant renovations and in new and replacement equipment.

Auditors also stated the SHD generated the highest gross patient revenue in the district's history, as gross patient revenue increased by 12-percent over the prior year, as outpatient volume increased over the prior year and provided over half of the district's operating revenue.

Seminole Hospital District CEO Betsy Briscoe, stated the budget shortfall could be contributed to the ever rising cost of medical care and the reduction of reimbursements received by the hospital district through various insurance providers.

"It's just a sign of the times," said Briscoe. "The cost of providing quality health care continues to grow, and at the same time, the amount of money we get reimbursed from the insurance companies tends to be less and less."

SHD officials unanimously approved of the external audit on Monday evening.

In other action Monday evening:

•  Jerrold Hill, Director of M.S. Doss Fitness Center was recognized as November Employee of the Month

•  Betsy Briscoe, CEO discussed the impact of the Bipartisan Budget Act passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.  Traci Anderson, CFO discussed the effect of our Critical Access status on the hospital and the various departments of the District.  As a Critical Access Hospital, we are cost reimbursed for the hospital only.  The other services we provide, such as Assisted Living, Home Health and the Care Center are not self-sufficient and lower the hospital’s cost reimbursement.  The hospital’s operations, along with tax revenues, is able to support these other services.  With declining hospital reimbursement it is harder and harder to support these other services, without new sources of income.

• The Employee Christmas party was successful.  David Lozano was awarded Employee of the Year, Core Values awards went to Rosa Zubia for Respect, Rosemary Ponce – Positive Attitude, Sandra Ramirez, RN – Quality of Care, Adam Gonzales – Teamwork, Amy Neel – Growth and Fiscal Responsibility, Sarah Klassen, RN – Compassion, Cherrie Briggs, Professionalism and Amanda Moncayo – Communication.

• Employees of the Hospital District donated $200 and 428 pounds of food to the Bob Lewis Mission.

 • Financially, the District ended the month with a $37,766 net loss.  The financial report was reviewed and approved.