BIHS finances up and down

Fri, 04/06/2018 - 9:15am
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The financial situation at the Block Island Medical Center, while improving, shows two areas of concern for the members of the Board that oversee the facility. 

One area is the heavy reliance on fundraising needed to keep the Medical Center afloat. The other area is the fact that patient fees are trending downward, although this latter development seemed of less concern to the board members during a recent meeting due to the fact that the Medical Center is continuously trying to expand its services. 

Unlike the town, the Medical Center’s fiscal year is also the calendar year. 

In 2017, based on total income of $1,512,532, and expenses of $1,115,764, the Medical Center ended the year $396,768 in the black. 

While that was good news, the conversation by the board members focused somewhat on areas in the budget that needed attention. 

From January to December of 2016, the Medical Center collected $509,227 in patient fees. In 2017, the facility collected $461,609 — a drop of $47,618.

On the restricted donation side, in 2016 — when the Medical Center ended the year $250,197 in the black — the Center received a total of $76,575 in restricted donations. In 2017, the Medical Center was the recipient of one-time restricted donations and grants totaling a little more than $280,000.

In 2016, fundraising efforts brought in $67,066, while in 2017 those efforts brought in $82,292.

For those two years, the town has also allocated $260,000 in its annual budget to the Medical Center.

The Medical Center has also increased its staff; it now operates with a total of 10 employees, working either partime or fulltime. Total payroll expenses for wages and salaries in 2016 were $483,051. In 2017, it was $552,479.

Treasurer Pete Tweedy said, at the most recent meeting of the Board of Directors, that the Center had about $1.7 million in assets and about $44,000 in liabilities. “Most companies would like to have a balance sheet like that,” he said. He did recognize the need to “encourage other income” for the Medical Center’s fiscal health. 

There were two ways to do that, Tweedy said: “Increase our revenue, which the board has no control over, and to increase our fundraising, which the board does have some control over. We should take a look at that.” 

At the most recent Board meeting, Medical Director Dr. Mark Clark noted the addition of a physical therapy team, Healy Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine, Inc, which has been contracted out to hold hours in the building, but is doing its own billing. The physical therapy program is one initiative to expand services offered at the Medical Center. 

It was a donation of $50,000 that allowed the “program to get off the ground,” said Clark, but now that the program has been installed, a budget needed to be prepared to see “what it costs to run the PT program.”

However, Board member Diane Kildea asked what kind of contract Healy had with the Medical Center. Clark said that “none of the ancillary providers have contracts,” and Chair Cindy Baute said that the company comes with its own insurance policy. 

“We should have some form of understanding: who will have what duties and responsibilities. I don’t feel comfortable until we have something” in writing, said Kildea. Clark said he would look into that.

Clark also said that he would have a better idea of how the PT program was performing — both in the number of patients it services and what its revenues and expenses are — after about three months of activity. He said the Medical Center had been providing some “perks” to the company’s staff, such as a phone, to get the program running, but said “we’ll revisit some of these perks” as time goes on. 

He said there were about 90 unique patients enrolled so far. “The volume is high and it’s such an important program,” said Clark.

Fundraising Chair Pat Doyle said she had been prepared to offer some remarks about the year’s upcoming fundraising events, but told the board members that she had received an email from Baute outlining several areas of concern that Doyle felt needed to be addressed before she could move forward. 

The key fundraisers for the Medical Center are the annual Lights of Love campaign held during the holidays, the Fun Run race, and a newer event, a Gala held during the summer. Total donations for 2017 totalled $181,892.

Earlier in the meeting, Baute had also announced that longtime Board member Sue Hagedorn, who also was on the Fundraising Committee, had resigned. 

Member Nancy Ruddle noted that while memberships were down by 78 individuals from 2016 to 2017, overall donations were up by a small amount.

Baute said that one key to the membership issue was “getting more and more young people to join the membership. It’s incumbent on every board member to try.”