BY ERIN GUERRA, POST-TRIBUNE CORRESPONDENT
A six-year streak of financial losses has ended with The Methodist Hospitals posting a surplus of $3.4 million in 2009, according to a hospital news release.
The achievement is made more remarkable considering the hospital system lost about $73 million in 2008.
The rapid turnaround is credited to vigorous attention to expenses by hospital President Ian McFadden and his senior leadership team, according to the release.
McFadden, also the chief executive officer, formed the team -- members include representatives of medical, nursing and business interests -- within three months of his being hired in October 2008.
"The success of this turnaround was all about execution and speed," McFadden said in the release. "There was no time for a honeymoon. Our executive team had to quickly identify potential areas for improvement and make the necessary changes as fast as possible.
"Fortunately, we had great support from our board (of directors), which allowed us to move quickly and efficiently in implementing change."
The team saved more than $28 million by renegotiating contracts, including a new pharmacy services contract that alone saved more than $1 million.
The hospital also ended contracts with outside providers that managed seven hospital departments, including environmental services and transportation, instead running them internally.
Among the changes, the hospital eliminated its skilled nursing unit, but the team does not believe this will harm patients.
"We did not pursue any efficiencies or take any actions that could diminish the quality of care delivered to our patients," McFadden said. "Considering any change, we evaluated our potential quality of care performance against accepted standards."
Loren Chandler, Methodist's vice president and chief financial officer, believes other nursing staff changes will enhance patient safety and satisfaction by bringing the nurses directly under the hospital's oversight.
"At the beginning of last year, 10 percent of our nursing staff was comprised of nurses who were employed by outside agencies," Chandler said in the news release.
"Now, the entire nursing staff consists of Methodist nurses who share the same commitment to our patients, along with the same training and evaluation processes."
For 2010, the Methodist Hospitals is investing $26 million into improving its buildings in Gary and Merrill-ville, inside and outside, including expanding space for physicians to practice and enhancing technology. The improvements already have begun and will be completed this year, Evelyn Morrison, marketing and corporate communications manager, said.
The hospital is finalizing its goals for 2010 and beyond and a new strategic plan is expected to be ready within a month.
Link to Articaleh: http://www.post-trib.com/news/2016784,Methodist-Haiti-0119.article