Report: Massena Memorial in bad financial shape
Friday, May 17, 2019 - 1:48 pm

MASSENA -- The Town of Massena says a St. Lawrence Health System analysis of Massena Memorial finances shows a bleak picture.

SLHS has entered into a contract with MMH, which makes them the sole potential affiliate and allows them to review MMH's books.

"A review of hospital performance since 2011 distinctly portrays a hospital suffering from the consequences of a declining local economy. Net patient service revenues are for the most part flat, yet expenses continue to grow," a news release from the town says.

It goes on to say MMH saw a 50 percent drop in average daily patient census from 2008 to 2018, "like most other rural hospitals across the country." In response to that, MMH is pursuing Critical Access status, which is based on their volume and could give them a better Medicare reimbursement.

"Conversion to a Critical Access Hospital (CAH) could mean a net revenue gain of $2.6 million in 2019. An application for CAH status was submitted in April," the statement reads.

"In conjunction with this decline of core service utilization, a corresponding degradation of financial performance occurred. Net patient service revenues failed to grow materially while expenses rose, resulting in significant and unsustainable operating losses," the town's statement claims. "The scale and effect of these ongoing operating losses have been masked to some degree by non-recurring other operating revenue infusions in three of the last five years. From 2014 through 2016 MMH received in excess of $13.2M from NYS in distressed hospital funding."

It also says MMH is behind on retirement payments.

"MMH has $7 million in accounts payable, in addition to being millions of dollars behind in payments to the New York State and Local Retirement System," the statement says. "Next steps include determining if additional short-term funds from New York State are forthcoming, which would assist as longer-term solutions are crafted, and execution of a Supervisory Agreement and a Management Agreement that would allow St. Lawrence to operate and manage MMH, under NYS Department of Health supervision, while a long-term plan is devised. These agreements are subject to NYS Department of Health review and approval, which could take several weeks."