MASSENA — Massena Memorial Hospital’s operating budget for the first quarter of 2020 could potentially show a loss of $806,000, according to Chief Financial Officer Patrick Facteau.
The hospital’s Board of Managers approved the budget, which runs from Jan. 1 to March 31, during its meeting on Monday. The board also approved the hospital’s 2020 capital budget.
“We’re projecting a loss of income of $806,000 for the first quarter. We think that’s conservative. We could actually do better than that, but right now we’re taking a conservative approach,” Mr. Facteau said.
Board member Paul Morrow wondered if new physicians who have not yet started had been included in the expenses. Mr. Facteau said they budgeted for 363 full-time equivalent positions.
“We have less than that now,” he said.
Real “Frenchie” Coupal, chair of the hospital’s Finance Committee, said they had also included retirement benefits in the budget.
“We didn’t take any of the benefits down. We did not reduce expenses for benefits based upon what they currently are,” Mr. Facteau said.
They also budgeted for $2.6 million a year in revenue they would receive as a Critical Access Hospital. The Board of Managers had unanimously agreed on April 8 to move forward with filing a certificate of need to become a Critical Access Hospital.
Critical access is a designation given to eligible rural hospitals by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It was created in response to a string of rural hospital closures during the 1980s and early 1990s. The designation is designed to reduce the financial vulnerability of rural hospitals and improve access to health care by keeping essential services in rural communities.
Eligible hospitals must have 25 or fewer acute care inpatient beds; be more than 35 miles from another hospital, although exceptions may apply; maintain an annual average length of stay of 96 hours or less for acute care patients; and provide 24/7 emergency care.
“We have not received our Critical Access Hospital approval yet to get that money. We did budget for it,” Mr. Facteau said. “The expenses are still higher than what we really think they may be. We wanted to be conservative enough in case of what if things don’t happen.”
During Monday’s meeting, board members also approved the hospital’s $1.4 million capital budget for 2020.
“The Finance Committee went through this Thursday morning for about an hour. We looked at every area that needed to be done. It’s quite extensive. They did an excellent job with it,” Mr. Coupal said.
“We haven’t had a capital budget for a long time. We have things falling apart,” board Chair Loretta Perez said. “What needs to be done first is going to be done first because we’re not going to survive without it.”
She noted that some improvements had also been included as part of the hospital’s 2020 operating budget.