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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Berkshire Health Systems Posts FY 06 Gain

12:00AM / Friday, February 09, 2007

Pittsfield– With its continued financial strength as the foundation, Berkshire Health Systems will have invested nearly $50 million in its programs, facilities, technology and people between 2006 and the end of 2007.

The announcement comes as BHS released its fiscal 2006 financial performance report, which on a consolidated basis showed an operating gain of $9,582,952 for the fiscal year ending in September of 2006, which enabled BHS to invest $26 million in services in 2006 and plan for improvements valued at $22 million for 2007.

2007 Planned Investments

“Having completed a $40 million phase that included significant facilities improvements, Berkshire Health Systems has now embarked on a similarly-sized reinvestment program that in 2007,” said David E. Phelps, President of BHS. “In the past year, BHS has invested close to $13 million in new equipment, over $7 million in facility renovations and $7 million in information technology. This year, we will invest almost $12 million in equipment, $3.6 million in renovations and $6.5 million in information technology. In addition, we have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on the recruitment of both hospital-based and community physicians and recruitment and training of new nurses and other clinical personnel to ensure that our community has access to the best services and care.”

As a not-for-profit provider of health services, Berkshire Health Systems and its entities – Berkshire Medical Center, the BMC Hillcrest Campus, Fairview Hospital, the Berkshire Visiting Nurse Association and Berkshire Faculty Services’ physician practices – provided nearly $17 million in services free of charge in fiscal 2006 to those patients who were unable to pay for their health care and who met the financial criteria for coverage under the state’s uncompensated care pool.

BMC and Fairview both participate in and make payments to the uncompensated care pool, which reimburses hospitals for a portion of the cost of free care. BHS expects to eventually receive, under current reimbursement formulas, just over $7.6 million related to the $16.9 million in 2006 free care charges.

$9.5 Mil Patient Care Write-Off

Berkshire Health Systems also wrote off an additional $9.5 million for care provided to members of the community who were unable to pay but did not meet criteria to qualify for the uncompensated care pool or other assistance programs.

“As a public charity, we are obligated to plan far into the future, anticipating the health care requirements of the next generation and assuring that there will be a solid, responsible health care system in place to meet those needs,” said Phelps. “For that reason, Berkshire Health Systems continues to invest in our facilities, our technology and in the training of nurses, technologists and other health care professionals who will be here for us all in the decades ahead.”

Government Insurance Underpayments

Berkshire Health Systems relies significantly on government insurance program reimbursement for services provided to patients. At Berkshire Medical Center, the Hillcrest Campus and Fairview Hospital, patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid – insurance programs for the elderly, poor and disabled – comprised 50% of all services provided in 2006.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association reports that hospitals are receiving reimbursement that, on average, only covers 75% of the cost of providing care. This payment shortfall adds to the level of unfunded services BHS provided to the community.

“Like all healthcare providers, we work in an environment of constant and dramatic change—sharply increasing costs and diminishing reimbursement and resources, changes that often come without apparent rationale or reason,” said Phelps. “Through the dedication, vigilance and hard work of our trustees, physicians and staff, we find our way through that environment, deliver those services that our communities require today and still manage to preserve resources to plan and build for the future, while also meeting other community needs. All of the dollars that our communities invest in us by obtaining healthcare services here, we reinvest not only in providing those services, but also in implementing new and innovative programs for our community.”
Your Comments
Post Comment

What public accessible measurement tells us the
afford ability of a hospital? How much is BHS contributing to the high cost of health care in
our region?
from: Old Enough To Knowon: 02-10 00:00:00-2007


 
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