Med. Center revenue shortfall ‘not sustainable’

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 9:00am
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There was a feeling of concern when Block Island Health Services Board Treasurer Pete Tweedy gave board members the news concerning the Medical Center’s financial situation. Tweedy said the facility’s revenue shortfall for January through March of this year was $178,507.79. Tweedy said this financial trend was “not sustainable.”

Tweedy said the total income for those three months was about $137,000, about half the revenue needed to cover the $315,377.05 in expenses for the same timeframe. 

“I’m sorry it’s not a happier report,” said Tweedy.

“Our expenses, as we anticipated, have gone up considerably — with payroll especially,” said Tweedy, noting the facility expended a total of $171,698.94 on payroll: wages and salaries alone. Tweedy said payroll, as well as Information Technology expenses totaling about $19,500 were the “two biggest issues that pushed operating expenses up. We didn’t have [a T-1 line] in 2017, but we do in 2018.”

Tweedy said the “biggest disappointment” in the budget was that there was no investment income for the first quarter, when the budget had anticipated $19,000 would be earned during the quarter. “I’m going to talk to our investment committee about the lack of performance — and see if we need to make some changes,” he said. “We need to do something to improve our investment income.”

“You’ll note that the donations are down significantly,” said Tweedy. “Part of that is due to an anticipated donation of $25,000, which we usually receive in the first quarter.” The Medical Center will receive the donation in the second quarter, said Tweedy.

At the board’s April meeting two areas of concern were highlighted: the lack of sufficient fundraising, and patient fees trending downward. Although the patient fees for January through March of 2018 amounted to $59,112.40 — $17,322.40 more than had been budgeted — donations for those months were down, totaling $11,422. This was $37,887 less than what was budgeted.

The Medical Center also received $65,000 from the Town of New Shoreham, which is one quarter of its annual gift of $260,000.

Other news

Dr. Mark Clark’s Medical Director’s report noted that year-to-date total visits at the Medical Center was 1,200, compared to 1,036 in 2017 for that same timeframe. Total visits for April amounted to 341, versus 270 in 2017. The report stated that the expansion of hours at the Medical Center starts on June 15. More information about services can be found at www.bihealthservices.com.  

Fundraising Chair Pat Doyle said, “It’s been a very busy month,” as she and the board prepares for the Medical Center’s annual fundraising gala, which will be held on Sunday, July 22 from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. at The Sullivan House. The $75 tickets can be purchased from board members. Doyle said the newsletter that BIHS sends out is invaluable in promoting the Medical Center, and should be given to sponsors. 

“We have to have at least 60 sponsorships for the event,” said Doyle. “We’re confined to only going to businesses for the $500 sponsorships — and asking every board member to come up with three or four sponsorships for us to be able to reach our goal.”

Doyle said that this year’s gala event will incorporate some tweaks that will make it more appealing. 

Doyle noted that this year’s event, in addition to musician Cameron Greenlee performing, will include a “surprise entertainment gift” with Police Chief Vin Carlone’s band, Fugitives From Justice, performing. The band includes Carlone’s wife, Karin, and police officer Chris Rich. “They play on the mainland, and are terrific.”

During his Property Management report, Torrey informed the board that the Medical Center’s plumbing issue, related to its toilets, has been addressed. 

“I told (Facilities Manager) Sam Bird, and he called the plumber, and the plumber was here the next morning.” Torrey said the toilets were now working properly.

“We didn’t have the proper flow,” said Torrey, who noted that Dr. Clark’s Administrative Assistant, Kyra Ernst, informs him of any property/building issues. Ernst told the board that, “The flow problem has been resolved.”

The next BIHS meeting is the board’s annual meeting scheduled for June 22 at 4 p.m. at the Block Island School library.