QUINCY — For years, Quincy Valley Medical Center commissioners and hospital officials have worked to pay off the debt QVMC owes Grant County. These efforts have paid off – literally.
“In November 2021, we were advised that all warrants had been redeemed,” said hospital administrator Glenda Bishop. “And since that time, we haven’t had a negative money order balance.”
The hospital district had to borrow money from the county to pay the expenses, a process called interest-bearing warrants. Grant County Treasurer Darryl Pheasant said QVMC has been using warrants, on and off, since at least 2001.
Bishop said QVMC no longer uses warrants.
Interest-bearing warrants are issued by junior tax districts when they do not have enough cash on hand to meet their obligations. The district borrows money from the county to pay its bills and then pays the money back with interest.
Quincy Hospital’s debt to Grant County was about $2.5 million as of February 2021, Pheasant said. At the end of February 2022, the last month for which information is available, QVMC had a positive balance of around $262,000, he said, putting them in the dark.
“It’s not just one thing,” Bishop said. “It’s been strategic, and it’s taken a lot of attention and monitoring, and staying really focused on that goal.”
Bishop said QVMC has paid off its mandate debt through a combination of community support, expanding services and working to increase revenue and reduce expenses.
Voters in the Hospital District approved maintenance and operating taxes in 2018, 2020 and 2021. Bishop said the tax approvals were crucial to reducing debt.
“These levies are extremely important to the work we are committed to doing. Our community support through these levies actually accounted for about 35% of the mandate line debt,” Bishop said. “We are extremely grateful to the community for their help.”
Hospital officials also worked to find services that Quincy area residents needed and would use. Bishop said one example is QVMC’s physiotherapy department, which offers treatment for a variety of conditions ranging from the head (neck pain) to the toes (ankle injuries). Another expanded service is Sageview Family Medicine, with a doctor and three nurse practitioners providing primary care.
Sageview is a rural health clinic, which means its reimbursement rate is different for Medicare and Medicaid patients than clinics without that designation, Bishop said.
Hospital officials also closely monitored the results.
“We have paid close attention to monitoring the revenue cycle, closely monitoring our revenue versus expenses,” Bishop said.
The Quincy area is growing, and Bishop said QVMC officials intend for the hospital to grow with it.
“It’s about continuing to assess the health care needs of the community and being prepared to adapt to them,” she said.