As we come close to the end of another year, it seems appropriate to reflect on the milestones and accomplishments of the past year. 2008 has been a monumental year for Mendocino Coast District Hospital in many ways. This is the year that we began moving forward with many construction and equipment projects that have waited for many years. For example, we received a Federal grant this year which will allow us to remodel and expand our Pharmacy department. We also designed a new Diagnostic Imaging Center and it is currently out to bid.
This was occurring at a time while we were also weathering, perhaps, the worst financial crisis in the history of California (although most are predicting that 2008 was just a precursor of worse things to come in the future). While the State began withholding Medi-Cal (Medicaid) payments to hospitals in June of this year, our hospital managed to maintain itself without borrowing. This was in sharp contrast to many small hospitals in the State that were brought to the brink of closure earlier this year due to the State’s withholding of funds.
In fact, we ended our fiscal year with the most financial success that we have had in over 10 years. We had an operating gain of $500,000 (something that nearly 50% of California hospitals did not achieve last year) and a total positive bottom line of $1.5 million. Our success was due to many factors. First and foremost is a great team of employees and doctors. We are blessed to have such incredible talent in a small community such as ours. Second, its been the renewed faith of our community in our small hospital. Our numbers on the outpatient side continue to climb. Lastly, it has been the Federal government’s foresight to create the critical access hospital program. Without the cost based reimbursement that we receive from the CAH program, we would be history.
Finally, this has been a year to say goodbye to good friends and key architects of MCDH’s climb toward improvement. We lost 2 long time Board members this year because they chose not to run for re-election. They are Camille Ranker and Don Tucker. Also, we lost our CFO, Wayne Allen, who has been so vital to the financial turnaround of our facility. I wish Camille and Don all the best, as they get a well-deserved break from hospital service. And I especially wish Wayne Allen all the best, as he has moved on to another challenge at a financially distressed hospital in Hawaii (OK, many people are not feeling sorry for Wayne because of the financially distressed hospital – he does get to live in Hawaii after all).
And I am looking forward to new leadership for 2009. Last week Tom Birdsell, a relatively new Board member (just 2 years on the Board) was voted by the Board to ascend to the position of Chairman of the Board. And new Board members Sean Hogan and Patricia Jauregui-Darland have now come on board to join continuing Board members, Mike Dell’Ara and John Kerman. We are well into the process of hiring a new CFO too.
All, in all, I feel that the future is very bright for MCDH. Even in these financially challenging times. That is because we have great people to call upon (from the Board to the medical staff to the hospital staff) and a community that supports us. Thank you to the community of Fort Bragg, Mendocino and outlying areas for your support. Happy New Year 2009!