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Fulton County Medical Center in the red

December 09, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

McCONNELLSBURG, PA. -- The Fulton County Medical Center will be ending the year with a financial loss, but administrators said this week that the loss is actually $1 million better than what they were anticipating.

Officials said the hospital being $327,000 in the red resulted from costs associated with the new facility on Peach Orchard Road.

"The loss is attributed to one-time hits we received," spokeswoman Misty Hershey said.

The medical center worked with operating income of just $300,000, due to revenues of $28.3 million and expenses of $28 million, according to a news release.

The narrow margin for the nonprofit corporation came from uninsured and Medicaid patients, who do not reimburse the full cost of care, the news release stated.

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Hershey said that despite a greater number of people losing jobs and insurance, the hospital has not seen an increase in uninsured patients using the emergency room for primary care. That, she said, could be due to premiums remaining active through the end of the calendar year, so hospital officials are bracing for an increased need for free care and specialized billing in the next six months.

Despite the strained economic status, the medical center plans to start construction on a patient services building in 2009 for a potential 2010 opening. That building will eliminate existing outbuildings and bring specialty physicians - like pulmonary or ear, nose and throat - to the new 22-acre campus.

"Patients can just walk down the hall and go to the OR if they have a procedure," Hershey said.

The home care program and specialty physicians will be housed on the first floor, while administrative functions will occupy the second floor of the patient services building.

The new, $37 million 88-bed critical access hospital opened in November 2007. The old hospital in downtown McConnellsburg sold this year to Triple P Ventures for about $425,000.

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