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Meritus Medical Center breaks even in first year of operation

August 09, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

Despite facing $30 million in new costs in fiscal year 2012, Meritus Health was able to break even during the first full year of operation for Meritus Medical Center, the health system’s vice president of finance said Thursday.

“That’s pretty good” for the hospital’s first year, Dale Bushey said following the Meritus Healthcare Foundation’s annual meeting at the Robinwood Professional Center.

Meritus Healthcare Foundation is the fundraising arm of the hospital, said Nicki Brinegar, the foundation’s development manager.

Bushey said the new costs were attributed to issues such as depreciation interest debt. The hospital was able to absorb the costs through increased efficiency, he said.

Joseph P. Ross, president and chief executive officer of Meritus Health, showed a list of ways the hospital has been able to increase efficiency.

One included reducing the amount of time it takes to move a patient to a room in the hospital after being treated in the emergency department.

Bushey said the foundation has $12.5 million in assets and strives for an 8 percent return on its investments, which it was able to achieve in fiscal year 2012.

The foundation raised $1.7 million in fiscal year 2012 and donated $2.1 million to the hospital, said Robert Rankin, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors.

The money was used in a variety of ways, including paying for medication, transportation and equipment for uninsured patients, Rankin said. The money also was used for a bereavement conference for caregivers who have lost children, and training for nurses who serve victims of domestic violence, Rankin said.

The Meritus Healthcare Foundation originally worked to raise $16 million for construction of Meritus Medical Center. Ross said he has been pleased with how quickly the foundation has been able to move from a capital campaign role into a philanthropic role for the hospital.

Ross also talked about the new federal health care reform that was passed and how it will affect the hospital. Although some parts of the reform are in effect, “the real action starts in 2014,” Ross said.

Ross said some hospitals have merged with other institutions, but Meritus Medical Center has no need to make such a move since it has a new facility. The hospital, however, has been able to enter into partnerships, including joining with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore in offering gynecological oncology services.

Meritus Medical Center was opened in late 2010. It has 278 patient rooms and is affiliated with 300 physicians in 30 specialty areas.

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