Massena Memorial eyeing staff cuts as inpatient numbers drop, clinical outpatients increase
Monday, June 18, 2018 - 5:47 pm

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- Massena Memorial Hospital officials want to make staffing cuts in response to decreasing inpatient volume and rising clinical patient volume.

"The issue with the loss is we're 116 acute care admissions less than where we were last year. That's the equivalent of $1 million-plus," Chief Financial Officer Pat Facteau told the Board of Managers at their Monday night meeting. "We don't know exactly why that reduction is taking place.

"Most likely the fact is, things have been changing here for a while with regards to shifting outpatient from inpatient. Federal and state government want that to happen," Facteau said.

A May financial and statistical summary made public at the meeting seems to support that conclusion. Last month, MMH discharged 153 inpatients, about 24 percent below their budgeted 201. That's also down from the 190 inpatient discharges in May 2017. However, their clinical visits were above projections and far above the total for the same month last year. They treated 5,420 patients at their clinics in May, above the budgeted 5,332 and about 60 percent above the 3,346 in May 2017.

May 2018 ended with a $436,940 loss from operations, leaving them $886,112 in the red year-to-date, the monthly summary says.

"Some of the clinics that are up are the MMH Medical Group ... up 436 visits from last year," Facteau said.

CEO Bob Wolleben pointed to staff cuts coming down the line.

He used as an example Mark Brouillette, their senior director of professional practice and ancillary services.

"Mr. Brouillette ... will be retiring," Wolleben said. "We are not going to be replacing Mark's position and distribute the duties he's responsible for ... among the remaining members of the administrative staff.

"He's done an exceptional job in safety."

Wolleben said another measure to save money will be to replace contracted hospital-based physicians, which he referred to as "locum" physicians, with MMH-employed hospitalists. He expects that change to take effect in late July or early August.

"That will save about $120 per hour," the CEO said.

In addition, he said they will be reviewing "every position individually," and they have no target number for staff cuts.

"Other positions we look at if it needs to be a full time, part time position," Wolleben said. "We look at every position that comes open and see if it needs to be filled or not."