The Hospital District contracted with Stroudwater Associates to prepare a strategic assessment and offer suggestions as to future operations. Also part of the assessment is the important role the Indian River Medical Center Foundation plays in supporting health services in the community.
–Janet Begley, Special to Treasure Coast Newspapers, March 28, 2017
VERO BEACH, FL Indian River Medical Center’s financial picture is improving with new contracts with three of the four major insurers that service the county, the hospital CEO said Tuesday.
By renegotiating reimbursement rates, the hospital will see about $5.5 million more in the current year, CEO Jeff Susi said. The new contracts don’t take effect until April.
“We haven’t done a good job explaining how financially sound this organization is,” Susi said in an interview Tuesday. “Even when we break even, we still have positive cash flow. The net assets of the hospital and the (Indian River Medical Center) Foundation at the end of the fiscal year were $174 million, up from $142 million 10 years ago.”
Indian River Medical Center Board Treasurer Jack Weisbaum said IRMC is audited each year, and financial reports always have been clean. The hospital has never received a qualified opinion that would indicate problems with finances.
“We have a lot of working capital here,” Weisbaum said. “The bottom line is that the balance sheet speaks loads about our financial stability.”
The $4 million loss reported by IRMC for the first quarter is partially because of projections that simply did not stand up, Weisbaum said. No one predicted Hurricane Matthew would impact the region and cause visitors to stay away.
“Projections and forecasts are difficult to do,” Weisbaum said. “You don’t plan on a nearhit from a hurricane when you’re doing a budget. You look at where you’re at and roll out what you think is going to happen.”
Between 2007 and 2010, the hospital paid off $80 million in bonds, strengthening its financial position. The newly opened Health and Wellness Center was financed over a 10-year period, after which the hospital will own the building.
Later Tuesday, in a joint meeting between hospital directors and the Indian River County Hospital District, consultants from Stroudwater Associates agreed with Susi’s assessment about IRMC’s finances.
“You have a strong balance sheet,” said Jeff Sommer, a project director for Stroudwater Associates. “And you have the benefit of strong demographics.”
The Hospital District contracted with Stroudwater Associates to prepare a strategic assessment of IRMC and offer suggestions as to future operations. Also part of the assessment is the important role the Indian River Medical Center Foundation plays in supporting health services in the community.
“The strategic assessment is meant to set the talks for the different boards to work together,” said Jeff Sommer, a project director from Stroudwater Associates. He anticipates work sessions between the various groups in May, June and July, with a report available at a joint board meeting in August.
Mary Beth Cunningham, Hospital District chairwoman, said she is hopeful consultants will present a variety of options that could work well for the community’s health care needs.
“This is our community, this is our hospital, and this is our future we’re talking about,” Cunningham said.
Absent from Tuesday’s joint board meeting was Dr. Omar Hussamy, who last week resigned suddenly from the Hospital District board. Hussamy, who was elected to the Hospital District Board in November, cited time constraints as the reason for his resignation. A replacement must be named by Gov. Rick Scott within 45 days after his office receives notification of the resignation.
Photo: Deborah Silver/Treasure Coast Newspapers