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Massena Hospital plans financial turnaround

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MASSENA - June was another difficult month for Massena Memorial Hospital, but officials are optimistic several factors will contribute to a future turnaround.

The hospital lost another $478,452 last month, bringing 2012’s loss to $1,639,860. CFO Sean M. Curtin said the factors which contributed to previous losses continued in June, including lower than expected patients and insurance reimbursements.

“It’s a reflection of the industry,” Mr. Curtin said. “You’d be very hard pressed to find a hospital in the area that’s flush right now.”

But the hospital will receive over $300,000 in additional revenues each month between July and December to boost its bottom line. MMH’s new revenue is from a $1.8 million Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement for updating its information technology system to improve patient care.

Federal legislation approved in 2009 allowed hospitals who updated their systems before 2014 to receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Those hospitals that did not could be penalized starting in 2015.

MMH has invested $1 million in information technology over the last couple of years and received a similar Medicaid reimbursement of $574,478 last year.

“It’s an incentive payment to get us to change our process,” Mr. Curtin said. “It’s not a direct reimbursement.”

The updated software and technology required the staff to re-train, officials said.

“This is a huge task that this facility has proactively researched and implemented across the board,” spokeswoman Tina R. Corcoran said.

June’s losses came prior to a downsizing the hospital implemented on July 2. Financial losses prompted MMH to lay off two employees, leave open 13 vacant full-time, part-time and per diem positions, and reduce hours for part-time employees in several departments.

The hospital will realize savings from those cuts in coming months, Mr. Curtin said. MMH is continuing to review its expenses and expects to announce additional services in coming months to boost revenues.

“There’s no silver bullet to make things happen,” he said.

In addition, MMH hopes to recruit two to three primary care physicians and an orthopedic surgeon to the area in coming months. One recruitment tool is the completion of a $3.9 million medical office building on Maple Street officials broke ground on in May.

Ms. Corcoran said she has received several questions from the community about the building’s necessity in light of recent financial problems. But the completion of the facility will allow MMH to better recruit and ensure profitability and viability, officials said.

“This will provide long-term growth to the facility and long-term benefit,” Mr. Curtin said.

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