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Saturday, December 20, 2014

UNMH running at a loss

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@ArdeeTheJourno

Seven months into fiscal year 2014, financial loss at the Sandoval Regional Medical Center remains steady at $5 million.

SRMC’s loss has stayed at that amount since the first quarter of this fiscal year, UNM Hospital CEO Steve McKernan said in a report at a UNMH Board of Directors meeting Friday. He said in total, the UNM Health System has lost $7 million this fiscal year.

McKernan also said that the health system in total has so far garnered revenue of about $600 million.

But SRMC’s loss so far this fiscal year is at a stable position, McKernan said. He said the center has actually improved financial operations since the previous fiscal year.

“We’re actually doing much better when you consider that in the prior year, we had gotten a $12 million one-time mill levy distribution from Sandoval County,” he said. “This year that wasn’t replicated again. If take that into account, we have improved significantly.”

According to a financial document filed by UNMH in October, SRMC had spent about $54 million in FY 2013, and had earned about $42 million in total revenue.

McKernan said SRMC is now also able to work with other institutions in the health system to manage the loss better.

“In the month of January, we were able to accrue about a million dollars of money back to the medical group to help cover some of the costs for physician practice,” he said. “That was a very good sign why we maintained the organization at its current loss of $5 million.”

McKernan said that for SRMC to keep up the good work, it should focus on “building the medical practice there, (in terms of) more physicians and more services.”

Mike Richards, executive physician-in-chief of the UNM Health System, said SRMC aims to focus on increasing medical staff numbers at the facility. He said the center is also experiencing growth in its clientele.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in our in-patient volumes,” he said. “Our surgical run rates have also shown significant improvement. We’re averaging, with our current run rates for the last couple of weeks, at about 375 to 380 surgeries per month.”

Richards said a remodel for a cardiology clinic in the facility is also taking place. He said the hospital is also developing its radiology lab to allow more on-site medical operations.

UNM President Robert Frank said at the meeting that he was impressed with SRMC’s progress.

“What a nice report compared to what we had two or three months ago,” he said. “It’s just gratifying to see team doing such a great job.”

UNMH Preliminary Budget

At the meeting, Ava Lovell, executive officer of finance and administration for the Health Sciences Center, discussed the preliminary budget of the health system. She said there will be a number of changes in this year’s budget because of changes brought about by Obamacare as it took effect last year.

“We’re working very hard,” she said. “We have a lot of changes because of ACA. It seems like a lot of our old money has stopped. The old Medicaid has stopped. The old state coverage initiative has stopped.”

Lovell said that at the moment, HSC will view its budget through a collaborative approach.

“We’ve had a lot of meetings,” she said. “We’re really bringing in together a collaborative process, an integrated process this year, within the facilities side and professional side. We’re looking at every expense line item to make sure that we could control our expenses.”

UNM HSC Chancellor Paul Roth said that in the past, departments in the HSC decided on their budget request by themselves. But Roth said that in recent years, departments have had to coordinate with other hospital administrators and have needed to work together on a collaborative budget.

“We’re a vanguard institution in an industry that is primitive,” he said. “What didn’t happen which is happening now is that there would not be a discussion with the hospitals… That’s what we currently do.”

Lovell said the HSC will present its preliminary budget at the UNM Budget Summit on March 25.