El Centro Regional Medical Center’s total assets increased by $16 million during fiscal 2011-2012 while operating revenues increased $17.7 million during the same period, a recent audit shows.
The audit, which may be approved by the El Centro City Council through its consent agenda tonight, also notes the city’s hospital operating expenses increased by $11.2 million, or 10.2 percent.
“The hospital is in a very strong financial position,” said its Chief Finance Officer Alex Wells, who noted that for about three years the hospital has focused in strengthening its balance sheet by increasing revenue and decreasing costs.
He added that in previous years “we were making a lot of investment in new technology and new equipment; that beautiful clinic that is on Fourth and Main is a beautiful building, but it was very expensive. And you can do some of those things, but you have to be very prudent about (investments) and I think that we might have overstepped slightly just by virtue of the timing.”
As a result, in recent years the hospital has focused on rebuilding its reserves and being more selective on investments, Wells said, “and because we’ve done that we’ve been able to rebuild our cash reserves and our balance sheet, grow our assets while still accomplishing the strategic investments that we felt that we needed to make.”
Still, the hospital has continued to invest. In about three weeks, and after years in the developing, the hospital will start using electronic health records, Wells said.
And yet, although the hospital’s finances have been strong, especially after federal and state funds it received in recent times, Wells said this positive trend will be more difficult to maintain in the future.
Reimbursements through Medi-Cal are becoming increasingly scarce, he said while noting some 30 percent of the hospital’s customers are Medi-Cal patients.
In response, the hospital needs to become more efficient and continue controlling its costs, he said.
Furthermore, to control costs ECRMC and Pioneers Memorial Hospital will continue to develop ways to collaborate and stop duplicating services. “There’s no choice. This has to happen; you cannot duplicate services here in the Valley,” he said.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com
If you go
What El Centro City Council meeting
When 6 p.m. today
Where City Council chambers, 1275 Main St.
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