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Massena Memorial Hospital dips below 10,000 outpatient registrations in November

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MASSENA — Massena Memorial Hospital officials say the 9,672 outpatient registrations recorded in November represent something that hasn’t happened in a while — and it’s not good news.

Chief Financial Officer James L. Smith told members of the hospital’s board of managers this week that the number is a “significant decline” from past figures.

“We’ve dipped below the 10,000 barrier for the first time in a long, long time. I can’t remember how long back since we’ve been at that level,” Mr. Smith said.

For the month, the hospital had 1,158 emergency room visits, 196 ambulatory surgical unit visits and 4,390 other outpatient visits. It also had 2,192 visits to hospital-based clinics, 600 visits to the Dialysis Center, 430 visits to the Kids Korner Pediatric Clinic and 646 visits to the Veterans Clinic.

Officials had budgeted 10,587 outpatient registrations for the month, according to Mr. Smith. There were 10,151 outpatient registrations in November 2012.

In total, the hospital had a net patient revenue of $2,791,800, which was 26.5 percent below the budgeted $3,798,588. The November 2012 net patient revenue was $3,286,466.

“All of that translates to a net patient revenue that was approximately $1 million below budget,” he said.

Total operating revenue for November was $3,375,835, or 16.31 percent below the hospital’s $4,033,734 budget for the month. The total loss from operations was $766,915, which Mr. Smith called a “very sizable loss.”

The hospital’s total loss for the month was $798,417, bringing its total year-to-date losses to $2,722,189. It had a yearly loss of $1,771,590 at the same point in 2012.

“For the year, we’re $2.7 million in losses, most of which is coming from the patient revenue side,” he said.

Board members agreed to write off $931,382.34 for bad debt in November, bringing the year-to-date total to $3,369,532.53.

“We write off an average in the neighborhood of $3.2 million a year, between $3.2 (million) and $3.4 (million). Dividing that by 12 would be an average of $260,270 a month,” Mr. Smith said.

Board member Darrell P. Paquin said the board needs to consider this year’s numbers when crafting its spending plan.

“It would be unrealistic for us to expect anything to change going in next year. Frankly, I don’t see significant increases in revenue,” he said, wondering what changes were planned by the Finance Committee to address the deficits.

“We’re looking at all of our services,” Finance Committee member Tina M. Buckley said, noting the hospital would be “making tough choices in the future.”

“Obviously something has to change here. We can talk about a few observation visits here and there, but that’s not what’s causing this,” Mr. Paquin said. “We have significant other problems here. I hope we’re going to address that.”

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