With the announcement that we have received the $300 million Health Care Transformation Grant from the New York State Department of Health, we have engaged the architectural firm NBBJ to begin the planning process. A number of work groups from the health system are engaged in the design process which began in earnest this month. I appreciate the time the teams are committing to this exciting project. With the guidance of NBBJ and feedback from our healthcare family, medical staff, volunteers and community we will build an extraordinary regional healthcare facility for our region. The teams and meeting schedules are posted on the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) intranet.
As part of our outreach to the community, we have developed a number of videos that speak to the incredible opportunity a new integrated campus will bring to our area. The videos include local business owners Mark Mojave and Rob Esche along with MVHS board members Symeon Tsoupelis and Bonnie Woods and our healthcare family members Eric Yoss, MD, Michael Attilio, MD, and Lissette Grimaldi, MS, RN. You can view the videos on our MVHS website; click on New Hospital Information.
May was a busy month of celebrations. At our MVHS Employee and Volunteer Recognition Dinner, we honored 776 employees who have worked for MVHS for five years or more and one employee who has been caring for our community for an incredible 55 years, Bonnie Evans, RN. We also celebrated the 573 employees who have been with our organization for twenty five years or more. We are so grateful for the continued commitment and dedication of our workforce. Our St. Elizabeth College of Nursing graduated 68 new nurses in May at its 111th graduation ceremony at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Utica. We are very fortunate to have such an exceptional program in our community that also helps us in our recruitment efforts for nurses.
Our medical admissions for the year continue to be strong and we have been busy with patient visits to our Emergency Departments and Urgent Care. However, we have been experiencing a decline in outpatient services including outpatient surgery, endoscopy, radiation medicine, catheterizations and primary care. Year to date, we have experienced a $1.7 million loss for the hospitals compared to a budgeted gain of $187,000. We are closely monitoring the changes and working with our managers and providers to explore why the change in activity and what steps we need to take going forward. On a positive note, we are seeing strong growth in our continuing care services including St. Luke’s Home, Visiting Nurse Association of Utica and Oneida County (VNA) and Senior Network Health. VNA has been able to open up more home care appointments, which have been a tremendous support for the safe discharge of our inpatients.
As many of you are aware, Congress is looking to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The newly proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA), if passed, will have an enormous and negative impact on healthcare delivery. The bill, currently in the Senate, would make extensive cuts to the Medicaid program putting children, seniors and working families at risk and endangering the hospitals nationwide through major cuts and severe reductions in the reimbursement to healthcare providers. Both locally and nationally, healthcare organizations are joining efforts to oppose the bill. In the coming week, we will be providing more information to you via our Daily Operations email and Facebook about how you can help defeat the AHCA legislation. Our advocacy now is very, very important.
My thanks to all of you who helped to support our Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Telethon and the kickoff of the $100,000 Miracle Drawing. CMN funding plays a critical role in our ability to support women’s and children’s services. The commitment of our community and healthcare family is incredible. Thank you to those who helped with the Cancer Survivor’s Day Breakfast, both through volunteering for the event and donating the gift baskets. Our patients and their families look forward to this event every year and this year was no exception. Nearly 500 patients and families gathered to celebrate their lives. Thank you for making that possible.
Scott H. Perra, FACHE