ELIH operated in the black in 2009

Eastern Long Island Hospital operated in the black in 2009, but that’s thanks to $1.36 million in contributions and bequests.
Total hospital revenues released this week were at $41.55 million with a net profit of $104,749. That’s a considerable improvement over 2008 when the hospital reported a loss of $713,124.

Hospital president and CEO Paul Connor III credited the East End Hospital Alliance — a union among ELIH, Peconic Bay Medical Center and Southampton Hospital — for success in negotiating improved reimbursement rates with insurance companies. In the past, the three hospitals bargained individually with the insurers. One hope for the alliance was that it would provide more clout in such negotiations.

While alliance hospitals were out of network with Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield for five months in 2009 and three months this year, the resulting contract is giving the hospitals market rates for reimbursements, Mr. Connor said.

He predicted 2010 numbers will show an even better year as a result of what he called “good contracts with commercial payers.”
Patient revenues for 2009 totaled $39.1 million as compared with $34.2 million in 2008. As with most entities, the hospital’s highest expenses in 2009 were for salaries and benefits at $22.62 million. That was up from $21.7 million the previous year.

The hospital has always had to depend on contributions to cover its expenses. But 2009 was “a tough time for fundraising,” Mr. Connor said. Those revenues were down from $2.6 million in 2008 to $1.3 million in 2009.

Still, Mr. Connor said, “We continue to do OK. We always count on our community to help us,” he said. Besides funding raised by the hospital auxiliary through various activities, including its annual golf tournament and various special benefits, Dr. Micah Kaplan has been successful in providing money for capital projects through the ELIH Foundation, Mr. Connor said.

The current year’s budget is about $49 million, Mr. Connor said. The hospital’s impact on the local economy is about $80 million, according to the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Association.

The wild card for ELIH, as for all health care providers, is the effect of the new federal health care reform act.

“It’s hard to plan,” Mr. Connor said. The hospital’s administrators have decided that since they can’t gauge the law’s impact on ELIH’s finances, they’ll continue to focus on the facility’s core responsibilities, continue to build the medical staff and “watch and wait,” Mr. Connor said.

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