The $4 million operating loss Erlanger suffered in March also includes $900,000 in severance payments to staff, Tabor said. The year-to-date cost of severance payments as laid out in Erlanger’s labor management plan was $2.4 million, according to the health system’s March financial report.
Erlanger released its labor management plan last December. The system initiated layoffs, voluntary buyouts and furloughs in an effort to cut operating costs.
“Total admissions were down seven percent compared to the previous years, as well as inpatient surgery volumes, which were 11 percent less than the prior year,” Tabor said. “Erlanger also provided $7.5 million in uncompensated care in March, approximately five times more than any other hospital in the region incurs on a monthly basis.”
System administrators presented the hospital’s sobering March financial figures to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority board of trustees during a budget and finance committee meeting on April 17.
“Management will address these concerns by focusing on the key areas of building admissions and making improvements in length of stay, surgical services and physicians’ practices,” Tabor said. “The goal is to identify additional areas of operating efficiencies and revenue growth – so Erlanger can be restored to financial stability.”
Fort Oglethorpe’s struggling hospital, Erlanger at Hutcheson, entered a management agreement with Erlanger Health System in May 2011. Erlanger has so far extended Hutcheson $9.9 million in credit, according to the system’s monthly financial report.
Uncompensated care also continues to strain Hutcheson’s finances, hospital officials have said. The local hospital, which serves Catoosa, Walker and Dade counties, lost $1.76 million in March.