The Vital Signs
by Rod Burrus, CEO,
Cimarron Memorial Hospital
The last several months have been a whirlwind of activity at Cimarron Memorial. As I have written in previous articles, our facility was able to secure a loan from Farmers & Stockmens Bank in Clayton, New Mexico which has carried us through the rough summer months. We still have a difficult time ahead, at the time of writing we have no inpatients. The hospital must have an inpatient volume in order to survive. We are working with our physicians to try and support our volume but without other services we cannot support our census, which negatively affects our revenues. If you are in need of healthcare, and we can provide the services, I ask that you think about keeping your healthcare dollar in Cimarron County.
So where are we at financially? The loan from Farmers & Stockmens Bank went to catch us up on our past due payroll as well as to pay off some of our critical suppliers. The funds have given us the inertia and momentum to work on our billing and collections as well as to begin a new relationship with an Oklahoma based collection firm. We have made enough money during this last month that we have been able to keep up with our payroll and have even made some significant strides towards paying our creditors. When one of our creditors call we make payment arrangements so we may pay a little instead of having to shell out a large sum of money. Our creditors have been more than happy to work with us to decrease our debts to them. Cimarron Memorial is not unlike your personal finances, we have over extended ourselves and are now having to pay the price. We have to tighten our belts and work our way out of this mess.
The biggest problem that is facing our facility now is the lack of technology. Currently we are using 486 computers with DOS software. Several members of our community have offered to purchase new computers as a donation, however; our old programs will not work on new computers and vice versa. Obviously we are all in the wrong business because software programs for our hospital run anywhere from $110 to $400 thousand. This places the hospital in a difficult position because our old software program has been acting up and at the time of writing, is not functioning so we are unable to bill. I am in the process of trying to negotiate a deal with the software companies to get us back in business but negotiations are difficult when you don't have an ace in the hole. If we continue to be unable to bill the situation could become critical for Cimarron Memorial.
On the upside, employee morale seems to be up. I have talked with the Department Heads that tell me that the employees are happy at work as long as we keep making payroll. I have always stated that our employees were the greatest asset that Cimarron Memorial has. We have loyal, dedicated people that care for their neighbors as they would their own family. Probably better! We are starting to work more cooperatively as a team and relying on each other for strengths to carry us past the hard times. We are fortunate to have Patsy Shields here from Colorado to help us work with our antiquated equipment and bring the knowledge of healthcare that she holds.
The future for Cimarron Memorial looks bright if we can over come the obstacles that are placed in front of us. No patients, no tools of the trade and no credit. This facility needs to move forward by offering new services to our community. We need to bond together and forget about past transgressions and realize that this facility is a much-needed commodity in this area. If you can picture in your mind what our community would be like without this facility. First we would have twenty-two residents who would have to find other accommodations. Secondly, we would have 85 to 90 employees that would be looking for jobs, and with their skills sets, probably outside of Cimarron County. Our schools would shrink and our business would dry up. The future would be dim for Cimarron County as new businesses would want to relocate to a town where medical coverage was available. Not a pretty picture.
While we are certainly in a better position than we were four months ago, we are far from out of the woods. I have several individuals in Governmental positions that I am talking to about assistance for Cimarron Memorial, however, nothing is concrete and nothing moves quickly when dealing with these entities. What I ask every resident of Cimarron County to do is to pray for the hospital and help us espouse a positive reputation and by all means, if you owe the hospital some money, come pay that bill off and help us help this community. If every debtor that owed us money came forward and paid their bill, Cimarron Memorial Hospital, Nursing Home and Rural Health Clinic would be debt free.
Boise City News, P.O. Box 278