ECU Physicians on track for positive year
Feb. 24, 2012
By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services
A little more than halfway through the fiscal year, the medical group practice at East Carolina University is ahead of budget projections and expected to make money, officials said Thursday.
A recently approved federal payment plan is boosting the practice’s finances, said Brian Jowers, executive director of ECU Physicians, the faculty practice plan of the Brody School of Medicine at ECU.
Following a presentation to the health sciences committee of the ECU Board of Trustees, Jowers said the rest of the fiscal year looks promising. The coming weeks typically bring higher revenues and will include dollars garnished from the state tax returns of people who owe state agencies, including ECU.
“We expect we’re going to have a profit margin this year,” he said.
Operating revenues through January were $87.8 million, $6.4 million below budget. Operating expenses were $94.3 million, $3.4 million below budget. Other revenues, however, including $6.7 million from the federal government’s Medicaid upper payment limit plan, has ECU Physicians only $400,000 below the break-even point for the year.
Jowers said ECU Physicians has increased its reserves to approximately 55 days of operating cash. That means that if all revenue stopped, the practice has enough money saved to continue operating for 55 days. That’s below the 180 days Jowers would like to have but better than the 30 days or so of cash that the practice had on hand a few years ago.