Tuesday, July 23 at 4 pm
Report/Editorial by Marianne McGee, MA/ABS
Once again, the Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) Finance Committee meeting on July 23 was an example of an informative meeting with a healthy balance of staff, Committee members and community input.
MCDH is still struggling to achieve a balanced budget or at least one that does not leave the hospital more deeply mired in debt. In fact, Interim CEO Wayne Allen and Interim CFO Doran Hammett have identified a number of savings and revenue enhancements that potentially improve the bottom line by $772,000. These include combining some management positions, eliminating the Materials Management Director, the delayed increase for the Meditech upgrade, reinstating the 340B program and renegotiating a liability for that program that happened under the previous administration. This fits with complaints expressed by many MCDH staff, which had been offended by the many new management positions added by Bob Edwards while trying to short change the unionized employees.
The end of the year financial statistics, while unaudited, reveal the hospital is still in a negative trend, with a year end loss of $1,238,166 rather than the $800,000 positive balance from this last fiscal year’s overly optimistic budget projection. The major expense continues to be staffing, with additional use of critical registry staff and 10 additional Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions. The disturbing news is that after taking the Board encumbered funds into consideration, MCDH only has 7.3 days of cash on hand. So, the re-budgeting underway now is vital to the hospital’s health.
Most of the meeting was extremely informative as department managers from the ancillary services including the Emergency, Laboratory, Imaging and Pharmacy presented their budgets and overviews. These honest presentations and their charts are worth watching for you, perhaps instilling some new confidence in MCDH care and services.
Additionally, Redding asked each manager what they can do to raise revenues and/or make reductions by 10% and often they thought improved public relations and information would be very helpful. Staff has consistently said they have never had this level of budget participation and information before!
There were several other items that bear mentioning. Long time Finance Committee Member Bill Scott has to resign, so there will be a new open position. Mr. Scott deserves kudos for at least 10 years of service and was a very participatory contributor. Additionally, the Meditech Computer System, which was sold as a critical revenue enhancement, is still not finished with no “go live” date because it appears the company was not able to produce all the promised elements in a timely manner. And a preliminary Capital Budget was presented and still needs some revision although there are over two million dollars in expenses needed this fiscal year.