News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 2, 2012

Hamilton Center reports reversal on deficit

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Hamilton Center Inc. completed fiscal year 2012 with a positive bottom line of $536,320, the agency has announced.

“This represents a significant turnaround from the prior year, which resulted in a loss of $1.8 million,” according to a Hamilton Center news release. Hamilton Center’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

The center’s board of directors received the organization’s 2012 fiscal year results at its monthly board meeting Sept. 25. Blue & Co, LLC, an independent auditor based in Indianapolis, prepared the audit.

The report also illustrated how Hamilton Center’s performance compared with the other 24 Indiana Community Mental Health Centers (ICMHC).

Hamilton Center’s general and administrative expenses were at 17.7 percent, compared to the ICMHC average of 20.8 percent.                                                                          

The center’s uncompensated care to revenue was 16.1 percent, while the state average was 14.7 percent. Hamilton Center Inc. provided $4.5 million in charity care while treating 12,330 clients and delivering 295,621 outpatient visits, according to the news release.

“In the last several years, the state of Indiana has gone through significant changes in funding mental health services,” said Mel Burks, chief executive officer. “With those changes came some difficult management decisions and our need to keep expenses down. Our staff have remained focused and have worked harder than ever to provide the highest quality of care to consumers.”

On Monday, Burks attributed the financial turnaround to consolidation of some   supervisory/management and executive-level positions where vacancies have occurred. Staff have been asked to work leaner without impacting client care.

Hamilton Center now has about 540 employees, he said. There have been no layoffs, he added.

Other savings have been achieved through fewer health care claims, he said. The center has implemented health and wellness programs, and over the past two years, claims have been going down, he said.

Hamilton Center also is starting new programs and it is seeking grants in an effort to increase revenues and improve services to its clients, Burks said.

It has developed a geriatric clinic that targets the mental health needs of older adults, and it is working on a program for returning veterans. In addition, it may become involved in clinical research.

Hamilton Center now has two people dedicated to writing grants “that will benefit our consumers,” he said.

HCI started a walk-in clinic a few months ago, and that clinic is open two afternoons a week. It is not for those who have emergency or urgent needs, said Sara Ritter, chief clinical officer.

Also, on days when the walk-in clinic is not open, Hamilton Center is working to provide same-day service, when possible, if a clinician at HCI is available to see that person.

The goal is to reduce wait times and meet the needs of consumers more quickly, she said.

“Our staff have worked hard and will continue to work hard for the benefit of our consumers,” Burks said. “We’re not where we want to be but we’re walking in the direction of where we should be.”

The center also is working to establish a foundation that would raise funds to enable HCI to see more consumers, Burks said.