Trying to stay in the black

Make no mistake; running a hospital takes dollars and a lot of them.

Just ask the board of directors for Lake Shore Regional Health System of New York, the overseers of Brooks Memorial Hospital. With the recent financial problems of Lake Shore Health Care Center that was part of the board’s responsibility until it created a separate board to deal with the Irving facility, LERSHNY board chairman Christopher Lanski released a letter to the community recently about the 65-bed facility and its future.

“At this time of national uncertainty in health care, the leadership and board of Brooks Memorial Hospital wants to assure the community that your hospital is vibrant, trustworthy and forward thinking. … While Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York is the parent company, overall Brooks is an independent community hospital which services our local needs. It is also financially stable in daily operations, long-term indebtedness and asset maintenance,” Lanski stated.

A look at Brooks Memorial Hospital’s available Form 990 filings from 2009 through 2011 shows how much money is involved. In that three-year span from 2009 through 2011, Brooks brought in $127,818,095 in revenues and sent out $123,779,209 to pay its expenses.

Looking at its yearly results, Brooks was on the plus side of the ledger in 2009 at $2,715,141 with revenues of $42,500,315. In 2010 with revenues of $42,414,367 Brooks was $1,454,145 to the good before taking a loss of $130,400 in 2011. Brooks’ 2011 numbers for its 990 filing show total revenue at $42,903,413, while total expenses were $43,033,813.

On the income side, Brooks reported $41,748,396 in revenue from patient services in 2011, up $802,055 from 2010. All other income categories fell from 2010 levels. The other revenues line was at $664,112 in 2011, down $69,779; contributions and grants fell from $388,899 in 2010 to $176,790 in 2011; while investment income dropped from 2010’s $345,236 to $314,115 in 2011.

In addition for 2011 under changes in net assets or fund balances, Brooks reported a loss of $361,018 on investments and a pension liability adjustment that cost $3,780,238. Add those two and subtract a $1,898 adjustment to beneficial interest in trusts and the outcome for 2011 was a negative change to net assets or fund balances of $4,139,38 in 2011.

Expenses rose over the three-year period, going from $39,785,174 in 2009 to $40,960,222 in 2010 before hitting $43,033,813 in 2011, a $3,248,639 increase.

Expenses are broken down into two overall categories: program services expenses, along with management and general expenses. The totals for each category in 2011 find $34,827,293 for programs services and $8,206,520 for management and general expenses.

Salaries and wages totaled $18,109,358 in 2011, including $15,497,820 for salaries and wages under program expenses and $2,611,538 for wages under management and general expenses. Management and general expenses also shows $741,380 for compensation of current officers, directors, trustees and key employees.

In addition, more than $4.8 million is spent under both categories for pension plan contributions ($1,009,741), other employee benefits ($2,432,059) and payroll taxes ($1,360,891).

One cost over recent years that was consistent was the compensation for Jonathan Lawrence, then chief executive officer for LERSHNY, covering both Brooks and Lake Shore. According to the 990 forms filed by Brooks for 2011, Lawrence received $197,184 in reportable compensation from both Brooks and Lake Shore, along with another $35,957 in other compensation. Brooks’ 990 form for 2010 lists Lawrence receiving a total of $397,373 from both hospitals, along with another $21,457 in other compensation. Lawrence and LERSHNY went their separate ways in March.

Another $216,220 went to Sunbelt Staffing of Atlanta for its agency staffing services in 2011, while in 2010 that figure was $262,869.

Staffing levels are an area of concern for the city and local region, both to keep people working – and healthy. While Brooks announced some 30-35 layoffs in July, there has been no further information on staffing levels.

Send comments on this story to gsnyder@observertoday.com