March 23, 2018
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Ellsworth hospital reports $1 million loss in fiscal 2012, but balance sheet ‘still strong’

By Mario Moretto, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Maine Coast Memorial Hospital lost just more than $1 million in the last fiscal year, according to an annual report released Tuesday night, thanks in no small part to nonpayment of state Medicaid dollars.

The state owes the hospital more than $12 million in MaineCare funds, MCMH administrators said at their annual meeting and dinner Wednesday night.

“That amount needs to be paid to help us reinvest and innovate in the future,” said Rebecca Sargent, chairwoman of the hospital’s board of trustees.

The $1 million hole is in Maine Coast Memorial’s operating budget. It means the hospital spent that much more than it earned in revenue. The hospital’s balance sheet, representing savings, endowments, capital funds and other money, is “still strong,” President and CEO Charlie Therrien said in a brief interview.

Despite the shortfall in the operating budget, there were many financial successes in fiscal year 2012, said hospital treasurer Debra Ehrlenbach.

The hospital saved $2.8 million in operating expenses from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, she said. That represents about 3.1 percent of the budget for that fiscal year. The hospital also raked in more than $1.2 million in direct gifts, and saw a 3 percent increase in physician service revenue, she said.

Ehrlenbach also told the 300 people gathered for the dinner and meeting that she recently received word that the hospital would receive a $1.2 million MaineCare payment from Augusta for money owed in 2009. But that’s only about 10 percent of what the state owes the hospital, she said, urging attendees to pressure lawmakers to pay the state’s bills.

“Please keep talking to your legislators, and maintain that pressure,” she said.

Administrators also gave an update on the hospital’s expanded Mary Dow Cancer Center, which will open in late November. Construction on the expanded cancer ward began a year ago and is expected to cost about $3.5 million, Therrien said.

The center will feature double the number of infusion chairs compared with the current facility, extra exam rooms, private and semiprivate patient rooms, a pharmacy, extra office space and a healing garden.

The hospital has raised about 20 percent of the construction costs for the expanded Mary Dow center, and the hospital has raised nearly $450,000 in donations alone. Funding from operations of about $1.2 million should mean the hospital won’t need to borrow any money to pay for the expansion, Therrien said.

Also in fiscal 2012, MCMH:

  1. Provided $1.79 million in charity care.
  2. Admitted 3,581 patients.
  3. Delivered 286 babies.
  4. Performed 4,212 surgeries.
  5. Treated 18,257 emergency cases.
  6. Recorded 82,486 physician office visits.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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