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Supervisors get first look at TGH plan

By ABBY SOUZA

Tuolumne General Hospital's financial recovery plan, which lists ideas that could help bring the hospital out of the red, will be presented to the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors tomorrow.

At the hospital's board of trustees meeting Thursday afternoon, hospital Administrator Barry Woerman laid out his plan for fixing the hospital's money problems.

Now he will do the same for supervisors, who have the ultimate authority on the hospital's workings.

TGH has long been a financial drain on the county, borrowing close to $6 million from the county and using nearly $11 million in general fund money over the past six years. Bad management, change in health insurance reimbursements, failure to increase billing rates and a decline in patients have all been given as reasons for the hospital's downturn.

The plan, which has been on the top of Woerman's priority list since he took the job in 2001, lists 10 changes the hospital could make to try to increase revenue or cut expenses.

Funding the Visiting Nurses Association with money other than the hospital's, adding eight beds to the long-term care program, staff reductions and several other changes to programs could bring in $1.9 million for the hospital.

But, even with these changes, the hospital will still have a budget shortfall of $1 million — money the county will ultimately have to come up with if this plan goes forward.

While District 4 Supervisor and Chairman Mark Thornton heard a bit about the plan at the board of trustees meeting, the four other supervisors will get their first explanation tomorrow. They have had a draft of the plan since Thursday.

The draft is on the agenda only as a presentation; the board will not vote on it.


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