A proposed $27.7 million budget presented last month by the finance committee was approved by the Salem Memorial District Hospital board at its June 16 meeting.

Two board members were also sworn in, Judy Thompson for a six-year term in District 1 and Willie Strader for an unexpired three-year term in District 4. No election was required because both candidates were unopposed. The board will reorganize and elect officers at its July meeting.

This budget, based on total operating revenue of $27,745,060 and total operating expenses of $27,733,620, has an ending balance of $11,440. Tax revenues of $500,000 bring the revenue excess to $511,440. The new budget is just over $900,000 larger than last year’s and includes a payroll of $11.9 million, slightly less than a year ago.

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The capital budget contains $589,468 in payments for equipment leased or purchased, including $128,117 in first year expansion project payments, an MRI lease payment of $200,000, a CT equipment payment of $104,944 and an ambulance payment of $57,971.

The capital budget totals $970,083. All tax dollars go toward construction purchases or lease payments, not operations, administrator Kasey Lucas said.

In an update on the current expansion and renovation project, Lucas said work on the MRI building, acute care, surgery and administration are all behind schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drywall is being installed in the old maintenance area, old medical records area, surgery, administration and acute care. Carpet has been ordered and the hallway is being expanded in administration. Window replacement has begun but new hallway flooring has been delayed in acute care. Roofing, brick work and excavation for sidewalks have begun at the new MRI building.

Doug Hoban, the hospital’s new chief financial officer, reported 117 inpatient admissions in May, 296 inpatient census days, an acute care occupancy rate of 38.2 percent and a census of 9.5 patients per day.

SMDH had 1,419 outpatient registrations, 234 home health visits and 544 emergency room visits, all well below normal levels. He reported 184 ambulance runs with 126 patients transported.

The hospital recorded an operating loss of $294,561 in May, but revenues exceeded expenses by $3,381,654 due to $3,672,747 in federal CARES Act funding. Accounts receivable were up slightly from April at $17.95 million, including $10.4 million in private pay, most of it more than 30 days past due.

In his COVID-19 update, Lucas said the visitor admission policy has been revised to allow one patient per day for acute care and one visitor for emergency room patients. Exceptions are allowed for end-of-life situations and other extenuating circumstances. All visitors must be 16 or older.

Daily briefings on the pandemic are continuing for directors and staff. Employees are still required to wear masks at work and are encouraged to wear them outside of work.

Free COVID-19 drive-through testing was planned Thursday in Aranda’s Mexican Restaurant parking lot.