Congratulations on a very successful DNV-GL Healthcare survey. As you know DNV is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid-approved accrediting organization for Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare (FSLH) and St. Elizabeth Medical Center (SEMC). The surveyors were very complementary of you and your commitment to safety, quality and excellence. While we always have opportunities for improvement, it was one of the most successful surveys that I can remember. Please take time with your team members to celebrate your good work. Well done!
We have reached another milestone for the new hospital. The Planning Board of the City of Utica has initiated the scoping process for the project known as the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA). SEQRA identifies potentially significant adverse impacts related to the proposed project which are then addressed in a draft Environmental Impact Statement. The process also includes opportunities for participation by involved agencies of the project and public input. We anticipate that SEQRA will be completed in late fall. We are continuing to work with the property owners to reach purchase agreements. While it is our desire to work with all of them, that may not be possible. If eminent domain needs to be used, the City of Utica will acquire properties in the project footprint through its Urban Renewal Agency, and Oneida County will do the same for properties in the project parking garage footprint. Determination of eminent domain authority was a necessary step as part of the New York State review of the required Certificate of Need process. Even with the establishment of the authority – it is still our desire to avoid the use of eminent domain if possible.
Work continues to improve our financial performance. In May, the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) showed an operating gain of $1.2 million compared to a budgeted gain of nearly $1.5 million. Year-to-date through May, the system has an operating gain of $117,000 compared to a budgeted gain of $3.1 million. While our operating margin is $1.7 million ahead of the same time last year, we are not where we need to be. Medical admissions are under budget as is outpatient surgery and visits to our primary care offices, emergency departments and urgent care. We are taking positive steps including opening up more appointments through our primary care providers and centralizing our imaging and outpatient rehabilitation services to one location. These steps help to enhance the delivery of care for our patients, control costs and improve revenue. While these changes are difficult to do, they are necessary.
In May we celebrated the graduation of 90 nurses from our St. Elizabeth College of Nursing and this month we have ten residents graduating from our St. Elizabeth Family Medicine Residency Program and four graduates from our Dental Residency Program. These educational opportunities are very important to MVHS as it allows graduates to stay in our community and remain a part of the MVHS family. My thanks to the instructors and teams that makes these vital programs possible and congratulations and best wishes to our graduates!
Summer is finally here. I hope you each make time to enjoy it with family and friends.
Scott H. Perra, FACHE