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Alice Hyde bucks regional trend, ends 2013 fiscal year in the black

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MALONE - The Alice Hyde Medical Center finished 2013 more than $7 million in the black — a far cry from some of the region’s other rural hospitals — medical center officials said Tuesday.

“When you include all sources of hospital revenue for 2013 (such as investment income, philanthropy, NY Pool Payments, grant money and Rural Access Development money), the total hospital revenue for 2013 actually totals $76.8 million, with total operating expenses of $69.4 million. As such, the hospital experienced net income in 2013 of $7.4 million,” said Doug DiVello, Alice Hyde president and CEO.

Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross are the three largest sources of income for the medical center, accounting for nearly $21 million, nearly $14 million and nearly $15 million, respectively, according to the facility’s annual report. The single biggest expenditure was salaries, at $33.5 million, with fringe benefits accounting for another nearly $8 million. The hospital wrote off bad debts of roughly $2.3 million, the report said.

The surplus is in stark contrast to budget-ravaged hospitals in Massena and Lake Placid that are scrambling for ways to keep afloat, and even Alice Hyde’s own recent financial past.

“This represents a significant improvement in operating performance compared to 2012, when the hospital’s net income was a modest $959,000. In further contrast, our net income in 2011 was negative $1.8 million,” explained Mr. DiVello.

Due to an accidental omission of data in its annual report, the medical center initially looked as though it finished in the red for 2013.

In a mailing sent out to 6,000 area residents last week, the hospital’s revenue appears to be $5.2 million less than its operating expense figures. Alice Hyde officials explained they left out a few important revenue figures that would have given a clearer picture of the hospital’s true fiscal health.

Mr. DiVello explained that only patient care revenue was identified. To correct this oversight, the hospital has modified the financial page of the 2013 Annual Report and posted the revised version on its website, www.alicehyde.com.

According to Mr. DiVello, this is the first year that Alice Hyde has included revenue and expense figures as a component of its annual report. “The hospital is owned by the community, and I believe that it is important for us to be as transparent with important information like revenue and expense when we tell our story to the people of Malone and the surrounding communities that rely on us for their health care needs.”

In addition to strengthening its financial position, Alice Hyde officials say the hospital has been successful in expanding access to primary care by recruiting several new providers, enhancing clinical service in areas such as cardiology, vascular surgery, pulmonology, urology and oncology, and is well on the way to completing the construction of a new 165-bed skilled nursing and assisted living facility which will open in early 2015.

The same cannot be said for nearby Massena Memorial Hospital and Adirondack Medical Center-Lake Placid.

The Massena Memorial Hospital board recently voted to turn the publicly owned facility into a private, nonprofit hospital. The hospital, struggling with escalating state pension costs, lost $3.3 million in 2013, according to reports.

The Massena Town Board, however, wants the hospital to come up with a plan B that would cut $8 million from the hospital’s budget over three years, but keep the hospital a public entity, according to reports. Either way, hospital officials admit there is no guarantee the facility will be able to stay afloat.

The state Department of Health approved Adirondack Health’s request in early May to transition its existing emergency room in Lake Placid to a 15-hour ER, according to the hospital’s website. The first-of-its-kind model in the state, open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., will go into effect on June 16.

The number of patients served at the Lake Placid emergency room has declined by 22 percent since 2009, and has resulted in a loss of nearly $588,192 in 2012 and $896,325 in 2013 for the facility, the website reported. The switch to a 15-hour ER is expected to save an estimated $600,000 a year.

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