Williamson Medical main

Williamson Medical Center.

Despite Williamson Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Michael Jennessee telling Williamson County Commissioners Monday that the hospital is experiencing "a labor issue," net income at the hospital has increased significantly when compared to last year.

For the month of November, the most recent monthly financial report from the hospital, Williamson Medical Center (WMC) saw a net income (remaining revenue after deducting expenses) of $822,707, and a year-to-date net income of $4.1 million, a more than 104 percent increase compared to November of 2020.

Williamson Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Michael Jennessee

Williamson Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Michael Jennessee delivers a financial update for the Williamson County Commission in Franklin on Monday.

"November I'm proud to say was a good month for us in terms of volume and earnings," Jennessee told commissioners at the commissions monthly meeting Monday in Franklin.

"You can see we exceeded all our key stats that we have from both a budget and a run rate basis, and that converts to revenue fortunately for us. Our net income for the month was up 21.4 percent, so it was a really good month for us."

Jennessee did note that the largest challenge facing the hospital was "a labor issue," but that management was addressing the issue through "temporary staffing" and "more overtime" being made available.

The hospital has a number of positions open on its website, but does not post salaries.

According to the employment website Glassdoor, however, the average salary for a registered nurse (RN) at WMC was $66,434, which was calculated by using 23 WMC registered nurse salary reports.

While slightly above the state's average for RN salaries, which in 2020 was $64,120, the figure is far below the national average of $80,010, and only slightly higher than the county's lowest paying state of Alabama, which in 2020 had an average RN salary of $60,230.

The "labor issue" as Jennessee described it is not unique to WMC, and is being experienced across the country as staffing shortages run rampant. As some hospitals struggle to keep wages competitive with local Walmart stores, others have moved to hiring foreign nurses.

Nevertheless, Jennessee said November was still a solid month for WMC financially.

"Overall good month for us; good financial, good cash month," Jennessee said.

Commissioner Barbara Sturgeon, who represents Williamson County District 8, asked Jennessee what services WMC was providing that led to such an increase in revenue.

"It's the same services, but at the end of the year we usually have a pretty good volume with orthopedic cases, but COVID - COVID was hitting us," Jennessee said.

"Are you getting paid extra money when somebody goes on a ventilator or when somebody is diagnosed as COVID positive?" Sturgeon asked.

"We're getting the same money that anybody would be getting, we get about $15,000 a patient on that," Jennessee answered, "so it depends on the severity of the patient."

While hospitals do in fact receive federal dollars to help offset the cost incurred from treating COVID-19 patients, WMC CEO Phil Mazzuca clarified that the increased revenue was not from the additional federal aid, but rather the performance of more traditional procedures that were limited in number the previous month due to the Delta variant surge.