Pen Bay financial health shows dramatic improvement

By Stephen Betts | Feb 18, 2020

Rockport — Pen Bay Medical Center experienced its best financial health last year than anytime in more than a decade.

The top executives of Coastal Healthcare Alliance announced Feb. 17 the improved financial state of the hospital in Rockport.

Preliminary numbers show that Pen Bay ended the fiscal year which ended Sept. 30, 2019 with revenues exceeding expenses by $2.5 million. This was a 1.4% margin of revenues over expenses which total about $178 million.

This is a dramatic improvement from an $80,000 surplus in 2018, a $6.6 million loss in 2017, and a $9.1 million loss in 2016. Smaller losses were incurred in 2014 and 2015. There was a very small surplus in 2013 and significant losses in the preceding years.

Coastal Healthcare President Dr. Mark Fourre and Chief Financial Officer Linda Drinkwater discussed the improvements Feb. 17.

They credited a combination of generating more revenues and controlling costs led to the financial turnaround.

The recruitment of physicians, including primary care doctors, played a role in the generation of additional revenues for the past two years. Adding specialists such as gastroenterologists resulted in patients coming to Pen Bay rather than going outside the region for care.

As out-patient services increase, including day surgeries, the number of patients being admitted for more than a night continues to decrease.

The hospital continues to work hard to control labor costs, Drinkwater said. One of the steps the organization has taken before adding new labor costs is to see if a new position will promote revenues and/or increase access to care, and determine whether current employees can fill the gap.

Fourre said increasing efficiencies in delivering medical care means the hospital will have more resources and can serve more patients.

55% of revenues to the hospital come from serving patients with Medicare which mainly covers people 65 years old and older. Another 14% comes from Mainecare which is for people with lower incomes. Another 26% of revenues comes from private health insurance; 3% pay their own bills.

The expansion of Mainecare in Maine to cover additional people with low income has helped not only those individuals but also the finances of the hospital.

Fourre acknowledged that many patients with private insurance face not only high deductibles but policies are also not covering as many services as they previously had.

One thing insurance companies are enforcing more are pre-authorizations before it will pay for services provided by specialists. The Pen Bay president said the hospital shifted employees so that they manage the extra work in dealing with pre-authorizations.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 19, 2020 13:01

Amazing,and to think it all started with the Camden Hospital and the Rockland Hospital combining way back. Camden Hospital was debt free. Rockland, not so much.

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