The Norman Transcript

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February 28, 2013

Low interest rates mean big savings

NORMAN — The Norman Regional Health System board approved refinancing a 2002 bond issue at the February board meeting this week. Low interest rates in the current bond market mean hefty savings for the health system.

“This is an opportunity to save $3.4 million,” Chief Financial Officer Ken Hopkins said.

Norman Regional has aggressively pursued efficiency methods to improve quality of care while also saving money. The program seems to be working.

Patients surveyed on their experiences at the NRHS give high ratings to the overall feeling of quality of care compared to other area hospitals, Dr. Darrin Smith told NRHS board members.

Additionally, there has been a decline in the overall mortality rate. The health system looks at heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia mortality in particular and tracks mortality rates for 30 days.

“What we can look at is what happens within our walls,” Smith said.

There has also been a decline in readmissions, which is below the national average.

The board approved the annual Infection Prevention Plan that continues to be updated and improved.

“We had a very successful year, as far as influenza vaccinations,” Smith said.

Employees are required to get flu shots unless they have allergies or religious objections. The vaccinations prevent the spread of flu to patients.

The health system staff also has aggressively implemented a self-monitoring and peer-supported hand-washing campaign to prevent the spread of germs from room to room. This “Wash In, Wash Out” campaign has been heralded as a great success.

Net income is up: Hopkins reported that operating income in January improved by 52 percent over the previous month, primarily because of an increase in inpatient volumes.

“The resulting net income from operations of $ 1.2 million is more than $500,000 above the January 2013 budget,” Hopkins said. “Non-operating income was also above expectations, resulting in overall net income for the month of $3.25 million, which was $2.3 million above budget.”

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