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Massena Memorial Hospital records $425,865 February loss

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MASSENA — Massena Memorial Hospital officials said the hospital lost nearly a half a million dollars in February. Chief Financial Officer James Smith told members of the hospital’s board of managers Monday night that the total loss for the month was $425,865, following a January in which the hospital turned a profit of $37,684.

Board member Gary Borgosz, a member of the hospital’s Finance Committee, said a drop of nearly 20 percent in total inpatient discharges in February contributed to the poor financial performance.

“It really affected our bottom line and led to a revenue decrease of several hundred thousand dollars,” he said.

Mr. Smith said the hospital had budgeted 194 total inpatient discharges and finished the month with 156, which was 19.59 percent below budget. It also was 17.46 percent below the hospital’s 189 patient discharges in February 2013.

Observation visits “stayed fairly flat” at 71, 6.58 percent below the budgeted 76, he said. Visits were 10.13 percent down from February 2013.

Total outpatient registrations for February finished 0.56 percent below budget. They had budgeted 10,339 and finished the month with 10,281. That compared favorably with 2013, which saw 9,291 outpatient registrations, but was slightly under budget, Mr. Smith said. Because inpatient discharges were down, Mr. Smith said total net patient revenues were $3.4 million, 8.08 percent below budget.

“Other operating revenues were somewhat below budget as well,” he said.

Board members agreed to write off $215,447.23 in bad debt, but Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray wondered what steps they took before writing off those numbers.

Mr. Smith said that, as a general rule, once payments are received from insurance companies, the hospital sends out statements to collect the balance. “As a general rule, if the statement goes out for 60 days, which would give them two to three statements, and no payments have been received and no promises of payment have been received, then we’ll send out a final notice around day 75. That account will get written off around 90 days, between 90 and 110 days old,” he said.

He said that the hospital has been “pretty consistent” in staying around 2.7 percent or 2.8 percent of its gross revenues, which is well within the industry norms in terms of how much they write off each year.

Board member Loretta Perez wondered how the hospital knew if individuals were getting their bills. She said she had received a $15 bill that was nearly four years old from a collection agency, unaware that she even had that debt.

“We send the bill to the address the patient gives us when they come in to register,” CEO Charles F. Fahd II said.

Mr. Smith said reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid patients is low. For outpatient services on Medicare, nearly 30 cents is received on the dollar. For Medicaid, Mr. Smith said, “we’re probably getting 15 cents on the dollar.”

If a patient has a balance that does not get paid, Mr. Fahd said the hospital is limited in what they do to collect. But new regulations allow hospital bills to be bundled together with other bills so that “we at least get in line and get a portion of some monies that are collected by bad accounts,” Mr. Fahd said. People are seen regardless of debt, he said.

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