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UNMH had first quarter operating loss of $5 million

University of New Mexico hospital had a first quarter operating loss of $5 million but is already making up for it.
University of New Mexico hospital had a first quarter operating loss of $5 million but is already making up for it.
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University of New Mexico Hospital had a nearly $5 million operating loss in the first quarter of the fiscal year, but an official says it’s already making up the loss.

A finance official said she is not that concerned about the revenue shortfall and that the hospital will break even by the end of the fiscal year, on June 30. The Health Sciences Center, under which the hospital falls, has an overall budget of $1.5 billion.

The hospital makes $200 million to $250 million in net revenue each quarter, according to Ava Lovell, executive finance officer for the Health Sciences Center. The hospital’s finances fluctuate throughout the fiscal year, and Lovell said it’s “an unpredictable operation.”

Also, the School of Medicine has used about $3 million in reserves, causing an overall $8 million deficit in HSC’s clinical operations budget.

The use of reserves for the medical school was in part to cover costs of the new Office of the Medical Examiner building, Lovell said.

The $5 million loss for the hospital was a result of an increase in charity and uncompensated care, Lovell said. She said one patient alone cost the hospital $1 million in care. Another contributor was a decrease in Medicaid patients in July and August, she said.

However, the second and third quarters have made up for that loss, Lovell said.

“So it really all happened in the first quarter. We’ve broken even or a little bit better than broken even,” she said.

Lovell said the hospital’s budget will be balanced by the end of the fiscal year. If for some reason it’s not, officials can dip into reserves. Lovell said she couldn’t immediately say how much currently is in reserves.

Officials plan to use $146 million from the reserves for a proposed new hospital.

The new hospital, a 96-bed adult-care facility, would be built next to UNMH to help alleviate overcrowding caused by the emergency department. Although many city and county leaders have publicly supported the hospital, some have come out against it.

The state Board of Finance has delayed a vote on the project until at least April.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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