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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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Despite Revenue Gains, Hospital Asks Senate For More Funds

The almost $29.9 million General Fund budget recommended for fiscal year 2010 is "insufficient" to cover services at Schneider Regional Medical Center, hospital officials said Tuesday, as they asked senators for at least another $8.5 million to cover the deficit projected for FY 2009.

The hospital’s financial picture has been improving, officials said during Tuesday’s Appropriations and Budget Committee hearing. Since FY 2007, collections have been inching up, and the hospital expects to pull in an overall $54 million by the end of the year, according to SRMC interim Chief Financial Officer Eugene E. Welsh. So far, collections — which are balanced out by about $90.4 million in total charges — have topped $42 million.

"Revenues are increasing — they are definitely going up," Welsh said.

The implementation of a new financial management system at the hospital has also helped it indentify another $1.7 million in potential revenue that can be tapped, officials said.

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But in the meantime, the hospital is still facing some critical financial challenges, according to the hospital’s interim Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth J. Harris. Along with a slight budget cut — SRMC’s FY 2009 General Fund appropriation was nearly $30.1 million — contributions made to the hospital have declined over the past nine to 12 months, she said.

The hospital gets another chunk of money each year from the Hospital Revolving Fund, but that money is put toward specific operating expenses, including contractual services, utilities, certain personnel costs, supplies, maintenance and capital projects not funded by any other revenue streams, Welsh said during the meeting.

"We have lost a lot of credibility," Harris added later, when asked by Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson why SRMC hasn’t stepped up its fundraising efforts.

Former Schneider Regional executives Rodney Miller Sr., Amos Carty Jr. and Peter Najawicz — along with former hospital board chairwoman June A. Adams — are currently awaiting trial on a number of criminal charges ranging from embezzlement to perjury.

However, Harris said Tuesday the medical center will be trying its hand at fundraising with an event in November.

"We use community contributions to purchase much-needed patient care equipment," she explained. "Right now, we are forced to use operating dollars for all emergent equipment replacement since we do not have a funding source of capital equipment. We are asking our community partners to reach across and assist in building health services for the people of the Virgin Islands. We cannot do it without your help."

Meanwhile, the hospital incurs millions of dollars each year in uncompensated care costs and only recovers a portion of what is spent on each Medicaid patient. SRMC also does not have access to federal economic stimulus funds, since there are currently no grants provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designated "directly" to hospitals, Harris said.

Right now, Schneider Regional owes the central government $23.2 million, owes WAPA another $790,970 and has only collected $79,407 out of the $860,481 worth of services provided to gunshot victims over the past year.

While the hospital currently has about $15.8 million worth of capital projects that need to be completed, about $1.4 million is needed right away to replace the center’s chiller plant, boiler system and 12 hemodialysis machines, Harris said, asking senators if they could also try and factor the money into SRMC’s final FY 2010 appropriation.

Officials said another $288,000 is needed for the implementation of Schneider Regional’s telemetry service expansion program, $2.7 million to complete the transition to a "meaningful" electronic medical records system, $165,000 to pay for three extra full-time employees in the hemodialysis unit, $330,000 for cancer screening and $150,000 for additional positions in the Partial Hospitalization Program.

Present during Tuesday’s meeting were Sens. Craig W. Barshinger, Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Wayne James, Shawn-Michael Malone, Nelson, Usie R. Richards, Sammuel Sanes and Patrick Simeon Sprauve.

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The almost $29.9 million General Fund budget recommended for fiscal year 2010 is "insufficient" to cover services at Schneider Regional Medical Center, hospital officials said Tuesday, as they asked senators for at least another $8.5 million to cover the deficit projected for FY 2009.

The hospital's financial picture has been improving, officials said during Tuesday's Appropriations and Budget Committee hearing. Since FY 2007, collections have been inching up, and the hospital expects to pull in an overall $54 million by the end of the year, according to SRMC interim Chief Financial Officer Eugene E. Welsh. So far, collections -- which are balanced out by about $90.4 million in total charges -- have topped $42 million.

"Revenues are increasing -- they are definitely going up," Welsh said.

The implementation of a new financial management system at the hospital has also helped it indentify another $1.7 million in potential revenue that can be tapped, officials said.

But in the meantime, the hospital is still facing some critical financial challenges, according to the hospital's interim Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth J. Harris. Along with a slight budget cut -- SRMC's FY 2009 General Fund appropriation was nearly $30.1 million -- contributions made to the hospital have declined over the past nine to 12 months, she said.

The hospital gets another chunk of money each year from the Hospital Revolving Fund, but that money is put toward specific operating expenses, including contractual services, utilities, certain personnel costs, supplies, maintenance and capital projects not funded by any other revenue streams, Welsh said during the meeting.

"We have lost a lot of credibility," Harris added later, when asked by Sen. Terrence "Positive" Nelson why SRMC hasn't stepped up its fundraising efforts.

Former Schneider Regional executives Rodney Miller Sr., Amos Carty Jr. and Peter Najawicz -- along with former hospital board chairwoman June A. Adams -- are currently awaiting trial on a number of criminal charges ranging from embezzlement to perjury.

However, Harris said Tuesday the medical center will be trying its hand at fundraising with an event in November.

"We use community contributions to purchase much-needed patient care equipment," she explained. "Right now, we are forced to use operating dollars for all emergent equipment replacement since we do not have a funding source of capital equipment. We are asking our community partners to reach across and assist in building health services for the people of the Virgin Islands. We cannot do it without your help."

Meanwhile, the hospital incurs millions of dollars each year in uncompensated care costs and only recovers a portion of what is spent on each Medicaid patient. SRMC also does not have access to federal economic stimulus funds, since there are currently no grants provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act designated "directly" to hospitals, Harris said.

Right now, Schneider Regional owes the central government $23.2 million, owes WAPA another $790,970 and has only collected $79,407 out of the $860,481 worth of services provided to gunshot victims over the past year.

While the hospital currently has about $15.8 million worth of capital projects that need to be completed, about $1.4 million is needed right away to replace the center's chiller plant, boiler system and 12 hemodialysis machines, Harris said, asking senators if they could also try and factor the money into SRMC's final FY 2010 appropriation.

Officials said another $288,000 is needed for the implementation of Schneider Regional's telemetry service expansion program, $2.7 million to complete the transition to a "meaningful" electronic medical records system, $165,000 to pay for three extra full-time employees in the hemodialysis unit, $330,000 for cancer screening and $150,000 for additional positions in the Partial Hospitalization Program.

Present during Tuesday's meeting were Sens. Craig W. Barshinger, Carlton "Ital" Dowe, Wayne James, Shawn-Michael Malone, Nelson, Usie R. Richards, Sammuel Sanes and Patrick Simeon Sprauve.