Crossing the Rubicon

Crossing the Rubicon

As we approach the summer months, I ask everyone to consider taking some time off to enjoy the opportunities to be with friends and family and to share wonderful experiences along the great waterways in our area. Everyone is to be mindful that we are in the hurricane season, and I ask everyone to be prepared.

Along with summer comes the many hours of preparation of next year’s budget. This budget, which begins Oct. 1, will be the most challenging ever. With declining volume; declining reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid, Tri- Care, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield; and rising uncompensated care (which includes bad debt and charity care), our revenue will be reduced significantly. This reduction in revenue will have a catastrophic impact on our financial position. To adapt, we must adjust our sails, since we are unable to change the turbulent winds of these socioeconomic times. I ask for everyone’s support and understanding of the budget crisis that we now face. Our duty to preserve our mission calls for all hands on deck as we navigate the river of no return toward a new port of call.

In the days ahead, we will be evaluating all our expenses. The cold reality is that our expenses exceed our revenue. We must cut cost significantly in fiscal year 2015 in order to survive this unforgiving river of the financial currents we face in the coming year and the years ahead.

This past year, many of us – including our medical staff, Board, and loyal employees – have written letters, sent emails, and made phone calls to our state legislators about the financial challenges we are facing related to Medicaid rate reduction, mental health issues, and the state’s failure to implement Medicaid expansion, as well as rising uncompensated care. All to no avail.

I believe our representatives are listening but fail to understand the financial dynamics hospitals face today and in the future. I believe they perceive that hospitals across our state charge too much and are making millions in revenue.

Our hospital and many community hospitals across our state are experiencing negative operation margins. It is obvious to me that no one is going to come to our aid. We must chart our own course across the wild river of our time, our modern day “Rubicon.” The years ahead are going to present the most awesome challenge we have ever faced. I ask that we all understand these times and that we all work together as a dedicated team as we dare to cross the Rubicon in order to preserve our hospital and continue our mission to serve.

Sincerely,

Ed Piper, Ph.D.

Former President & Chief Executive Officer, 2000-2016

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