EL CENTRO – The El Centro Regional Medical Center held a press conference the morning of Thursday, January 26, which clarified the hospitals financial status including the debt which the hospital holds.
ECRMC’s financial struggles have been the subject of much conversation, both public and private, over the last few weeks after the hiring and resignation of the new CEO Scott Philips, the closing of Maternal and Child Services at ECRMC, and discussions around the possibility of ECRMC losing base hospital status.
In the press conference, hospital officials clarified exactly what the hospital’s financial status was, condemning the rampant rumors plaguing hospital discussions and its future status.
“It is very important for us to be here to provide you information since many of you will be making medical decisions based on the information that is provided to you,” ECRMC Board President and El Centro City Councilmember Tomás Oliva said, “so we want to make sure that you have accurate, truthful information.”
Philips, who also performed an audit on ECRMC prior to becoming CEO, explained that in the last fiscal year ECRMC lost more than $20 million, and within the first six months of the current fiscal year, the hospital lost an additional $19.3 million – and approximately $75 million in revenues.
According to Phillips, at this time last year ECRMC had approximately $42 million in savings, but by November 15, 2022, the hospital had just over $5 million in savings.
Phillips additionally reported that the savings has since been increased to $12 million, which Phillips attributed to a $5.4 million advance from the state of California and a $2 million payment for a research project performed at the hospital.
Philips and Oliva attributed these losses to two large issues: the repayment of federal funds received during the pandemic and a $125 million bond which has come due.
Hospitals throughout the nation received advances on funds from the federal government at the beginning of the pandemic which now have to be repaid, Phillips said. Between July and September of 2022, the federal government took back $6.7 million from ECRMC to repay those funds, he said.
Oliva said that the $125 million bond was originally taken out in 2018 and was to update the hospital to meet the State of California’s building standards for seismic events.
El Centro Mayor Martha Cardenas-Singh also quickly addressed rumors of Dr. Tien Tan Vo and company’s intention of purchasing ECRMC, saying the city has received no offers to purchase thus far.
“We have not heard any information about anyone seeking to purchase our hospital,” the mayor said. “Our hospital is not for sale at this point.”
“We are working diligently to continue the services,” she said.
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