South Routt Medical Center advisory committee presents its report to board

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— The advisory committee for the South Routt Medical Center presented its report to the board Friday night at a special meeting.

The committee was formed Dec. 2 because of inquiries and feedback from members of the public about the medical center’s finances, and the committee's report is not the end of the process. Committee members include David Bonfiglio, Linda Long, Chuck Wisecup and Mary Alice Page-Allen.

In the report, the committee sets out three tasks for itself: to assist the board with financial issues, to mediate issues between the board and staff and to assist the board and staff with stabilizing the future of South Routt Medical Center.

According to the report, the urgency of the center’s financial situation made developing options for those issues the first priority.

Oak Creek Treasurer Sandy Jacobs examined the center’s financial documents and found that its statements “have generally been in good order in 2013 and any inaccuracies are relatively minor,” according to the report.

Bonfiglio said Friday night that there was no evidence of fraud or mishandling of funds found in the review of the medical center’s financials.

The center’s ongoing expansion project was the main financial issue highlighted in the report. The cost of the project has ballooned from its originally budgeted amount of $127,000 in 2013 to $372,767, which also is $2,000 more than a supplemental budget the board approved in July.

That supplemental budget approval for $370,281 exceeded the available revenues and fund balance of the center by about $60,000, according to the report. Because of this error, the budget likely violates Colorado’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights and might be void.

The medical center’s board must pass a new supplemental budget, and it must have the funds to do so.

However, the center now has a cash flow issue that is inhibiting it from meeting its typical monthly obligations, according to the report. “Mid-January expenses, construction and operations will exceed available cash,” the report states.

Members of the advisory committee came up with three options for the medical center. The baseline scenario assumes no additional revenue or credit. The next scenario projects a $250,000 line of credit that would be used to pay obligations and meet required reserves. This option leaves only about a month’s worth of wiggle room in the center’s budget for 2014.

The last scenario pairs a line of credit with a mortgage on the center’s facility. A mortgage would have to go to the voters of the center’s tax district, according to Bonfiglio.

The committee is not recommending an increase in the center’s mill levy, he said, but the board has to keep it on its list of options.

If the board decides to pursue a mortgage, the report states, it would need to start work in January to have the ballot question ready for March.

There was no public comment during the designated portion of the meeting, but members of the audience that filled the town meeting space did engage with board members as motions were being proposed later in the meeting.

South Routt Medical Center board vice president Steve Strickler will discuss with Dr. Dan Smilkstein, the center’s medical director, issues between the board and the staff during the upcoming week.

The board voted to appoint Chuck Wisecup to fill its vacant seat. The members of the board reached the conclusion Friday night that, between appointed members and expiring terms, all five seats would be up for election in March. Other members of the board, in addition to Wisecup and Strickler, are John Porter, Deanna Berry and Ann Trout.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz

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