JUA money helps LRGHealthcare end fiscal year in the black by $2.6M

MEREDITH — Yesterday, just hours after the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a budget that hospitals claim further erodes their financial conditions, LRGHealthcare held its annual meeting at Church Landing, where Henry Lipman, senior vice-president, reported that the corporation posted its strongest earnings in four years.
For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, operating revenues reached $208.8 million, with net patient service revenue of $196.8 million representing 94-percent of the total. Operating expenses, including nearly $10 million in depreciation and amortization and $6 million in Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET) payments, were $207.1 million.
The income of operations of $1.7 million,easily topped the $13,697 reported in 2011 and the loss of $2.3 million posted in 2010.
With nonoperating income of almost $1 million, revenues exceeded expenses by $2.6 million, compared to a meager gain of $814,150 a year ago.
The positive results reflect the impact of the settlement of litigation arising from the effort of the state to transfer the $110 million surplus of the New Hampshire Medical Malpractice Joint Underwriting Association (JUA) to the general fund. LRGHealthcare played a major role in challenging the ploy and was awarded $5.1 million when the policyholders' claim to the surplus was upheld by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The award lessened the adverse impacts of the decisions by the state to levy the MET at 5.5 percent on the net income from patients services and withhold payments for uncompensated care.
Lipman stressed that while coping with trying financial pressures LRGHealthcare provided community benefits with an aggregate value of $35.9 million in 2012, which included $15.9 million in subsidized medical services, $13.3 million in unreimbursed costs for Medicaid patients and $4.6 million in free or discounted care. In addition, the company incurred $15.6 million in unreimbursed costs for Medicare patients and $2.96 million in uncollectable debts while providing $3.1 million in discounts to uninsured patients.
During the the year, LRGHealthcare introduced several new services and programs, which were highlighted at the meeting. Dr. Paul Racicot reported on the progress of Convenience Care, the walk-in clinic for the treatment of minor ailments and injuries, which has cared for some 2,000 patients since opening in December. He that the hours, originally 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, are being "tweaked" to account for heavier than anticipated traffic in the early morning, especially on Saturdays, which he said took him by surprise. The charge of $150 a visit, Racicot said, is the lowest in the state.
As part of the hospital rather than a free-standing facility, he explained that the clinic ensures a continuum of care while noting that only five-percent of patients have been referred to the emergency room.
Dr. Carolyn Crosby described the growth of the Palliative Care Unit since it began in 2007. The team of physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains not only ease the pain and symptoms of those with severe or terminal medical conditions but also assist patients and their families with the difficult decisions facing them.
Still a part-time presence limited to inpatients, Crosby said that the unit has proven its worth by shortening hospital stays and reducing readmissions, especially of nursing home residents.
Dr. Raza Shariff and Carole Lines-Domin introduced the Weight Institute of New Hampshire, which offers not only all forms of bariatric surgery but a range of services and programs to reduce weight and combat obesity by exercise regimens, lifestyle changes and sound nutrition.
Among the newest services at LRGH, MAKOplasty offers minimally invasive partial knee and hip replacement surgery using an interactive robotic arm. Dr. Jeremy Hogan said that he has performed 20 successful procedures since the technique was introduced in November and expects demand to grow significantly.

CAPTION: Tom Clairmont (left), president and chief executive officer of LRGHealthcare, presented George Clemow (center), who received a bouquet from Sandy Marshall (right) with the Rhoda C. Ladd Award for "service to community health care" at the corporation's annual meeting yesterday. Clemow, now in his 90s, has volunteered at Lakes Region General Hospital for the past 28 years. A retired mechanical engineer with an uncanny knack for fixing things and solving problems, Clairmont said he "on the clock" day in and day out, sharing his wisdom and talent with the Bio-Medical Department. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/ Michael Kitch)

CAPTION:, Mandy Pickess (center), who has served as a volunteered at Franklin Regional Hospital since retiring from teaching in 1964, was honored with the Sally Proctor Award by Tom Clairmont (left), president and chief executive officer of LRGHealthcare, and showered with flowers by Sandy Marshall (right) at the company's annual meeting yesterday. Known as "Queen of the Gift Cart," PIckess said that when she walks around the hospital "there are these gray-haired people in the beds and I occasionally hear one of them say 'You used to be my teacher!'" (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch)