September 18, 2013 | 662 views
Hospitals keep fighting the funding battle
Medical centers seek donations despite economy, industry changes
Hospitals need to raise funds to stay in the vital business of treating the sick and injured in our communities. Fees for services and government and private insurance payments are insufficient to fund the enormous expenses hospitals incur in salaries, physical plant operations and medical care for thousands of patients.
A variety of health care industry and hospital-specific changes are having an impact on those fundraising efforts. Changes in the way medical services are provided, the still-struggling economy, and talk — and the reality of — hospital closures affect fundraising. St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, the North Shore LIJ Health System and South Nassau Communities Hospital are among the local hospitals that are navigating a changing landscape.
St. John’s closed its chemical dependency unit, which was expected to lose $1.4 million this year. It shifted its family practice, internal medicine and pediatric services to the Family Health Centers in Far Rockaway and the Arverne section of Queens last month. And the hospital is in the process of selling its two nursing homes, Bishop Charles Waldo McLean, in Far Rockaway, and Bishop Henry B. Hucles, in Brooklyn, to Michael Melnicke, who owns six such facilities. The sale is awaiting approval from the State Department of Health.
Richard L. Brown, St. John’s’ interim chief executive officer, said that two primary factors led to the detox unit’s closure, which should help the hospital in the long run. “First, it was suffering from a dramatically declining patient [population],” Brown said, adding that the number of patients couldn’t sustain the unit. “Second, the national trend is to offer detoxification in an alternate manner, which is now being incorporated into St. John’s’ patient care. This was a decision that will have a positive impact on the long-term stability of the hospital, and that, in my many years of experience, should encourage potential donors.”