A Message from the President
These are challenging times for healthcare.
The fiscal cliff legislation, known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act,that was passed in early January spared increases for individual taxpayers whose taxable income is less than $400,000 a year. A less talked about part of the Act was a one-year suspension in the legislated automatic reductions in Medicare rates for physicians. However, this one-year suspension will be paid for by cuts to hospitals to the tune of $11 billion in reduced Medicare reimbursements for the next three years.
In addition, the Act did not address federal spending cuts which are scheduled to be negotiated over the next two months. Still on the table is a 2% reduction to hospital Medicare reimbursements left over from the Budget Act of 2011. Further cuts to hospitals are anticipated.
With the recent real estate bubble and stock market downturn, the value of the Mather pension plan had dropped significantly. This resulted in Mather needing to increase its annual contribution from $5.2 million in 2008 to $14.7 million in 2012.
With the exception of the early flu season in December, Mather’s medical/surgical inpatient volume was down in 2012 by more than 500 patient discharges as compared to 2011.
How does a hospital survive in this kind of environment?
As naturalist Charles Darwin would say, we adapt. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution describes how species adapt to their environment, making them more able to survive - and evolve - as the environment changes.
Mather must make changes if it is to survive and evolve because we owe it to our community, our patients and our employees to protect our hospital from further financial decline.
To that end the management team has implemented a number of initiatives. They involve renegotiating vendor contracts; continuing to examine staffing benchmarks and census levels and appropriately adjusting staffing levels; and making changes to our pension programs.
We need to do both - cut expenses and grow revenue. We need to invest in programs and technology that allow us to better care for our community as well as enable us to remain competitive. These planned investments include building a 36 single-bedded patient care unit; developing a residency program for the needed primary care specialties in internal medicine, family medicine, and psychiatry; and developing CyberKnife and Cardiac Catheterization programs.
These are challenging times. The decisions we have made and changes we have implemented have been done so that we not only survive, but evolve and thrive. I appreciate the work you do every day for the betterment of our patients and our community. Here are just some examples:
Maria Basile, MD was named Assistant Vice President for Medical Affairs. In this position, Maria will support the implementation of new initiatives, and work to create physician engagement,leadership development and educational techniques programs. Maria previously served as a Clinical Information System Physician Advisor and worked with physicians on our new electronic medical records system. She also led the development of www.matherdoc.org.
We welcome Michael Tofano, MD, our new Hospitalist Director. He was previously Director of Hospital Medicine for Marlboro and Clinton Hospitals, UMass Memorial Health Care and as Associate Chief of Hospital Medicine at UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, MA.
Congratulations to Emergency Department nurse Kerry O’Sullivan, RN, TNCC, ENPC, who was given the 2012 Julie Cangro Award by the Suffolk County Emergency Nurses Association. Kerry is active with Blanca’s House, a non-profit organization of volunteer healthcare professionals who donate their time to provide free medical treatment to children internationally who would otherwise have no access to modern healthcare.
Congratulations to our volunteers on their service awards. Among those volunteers with the highest cumulative hours were Dorothy “Dot” Milau with 34,000 hours; Laura Jean Glover, 16,000 hours; Lorraine Altman, 9,000 hours; and Al Breitenbach, 9,000 hours.
Quality and Safety
In an analysis of hospital performance that measures quality, patient satisfaction and mortality by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), Mather was ranked first out of 153 hospitals statewide. This is the third consecutive rating period we were ranked first in New York State and in the top 50 hospitals nationwide. Please note that this is a projection of ranking based on past performance developed by HANYS. Thank you to the entire Mather Family for your commitment to make us the best community hospital in New York State.
Mather received the Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. This award recognizes our commitment to quality and success in implementing a higher standard of care for stroke patients using nationally accepted clinical guidelines.
Congratulations Dr. Dinesh Shukla, Director of the Stroke Program; Joanne Lauten, RN, Stroke Coordinator; and the entire stroke team.
The Fortunato Breast Health Center received another three-year accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). This recognition is given only to those centers that have voluntarily committed to providing the highest level of quality breast care and that undergo a rigorous review of their performance. Congratulations to Drs. Carrucciu and Price and the entire Breast Center team who made this achievement possible.
Innovation and Growth
Our da Vinci Robotic Surgical program has expanded to include urological surgery including prostectomies and nephrectomies. Our urology medical staff is collaborating with us to pioneer this new program.
Leadership from our Interventional Radiology (IR) Department will be opening Mather Interventional Radiology Associates (MIRA), an office practice with IR services in Women’s Health and Interventional Oncology, specialty staff, and outreach programs. Under the guidance of Director Mohammad Bilal, MD, the IR team has expanded to include Radiologist Kenny Lien, MD, and Nurse Practitioner Karen Purr.
As we face challenging times in healthcare, the Mather Family needs to continue to work together in providing a wide spectrum of high quality healthcare services to community residents, showing compassion and respect, and treating each patient in the manner we would wish for our loved ones.