Friday, June 15, 2012

County to discuss budget, senior care

Hearings continue next week in Hailey


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County will continue budget hearings and Blaine Manor discussions during its two public meetings next week.

Monday will see a slate of county department budget requests from the Blaine County Operations Department as well as the county Assessor's Office and the Recorder and Clerk's Office.

County commissioners will also study the Ambulance District budget, which might be affected by a recent decision by St. Luke's Wood River to handle its own interfacility transfers—those from St. Luke's Wood River to its Boise, Twin Falls or Salt Lake City hospitals.

Commissioner Larry Schoen said last November that the district could lose up to $100,000 in revenue due to lost billing from those transfers. However, emergency services providers were less convinced, saying they would likely still provide some transfers and that trying to divide revenue from interfacility transfers from revenue from other ambulance services would be difficult.

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The county is set to discuss an efficiency audit for Blaine Manor on Tuesday, as well as possibly gaining "distressed facility status" for the building.

Stephanie Jaskowski, Blaine Manor's director of finance and human resources, said obtaining that status would help to boost the reimbursement rate—and thus revenues—received by the manor for care of Medicaid patients. She said it would not affect the revenues from Medicare or private-pay patients.

A facility can qualify for distressed facility status if it exists in an underserved area, cannot cover its costs of care and exercises careful spending. The manor applied for the designation in 2001 but was denied.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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