WCA Announces 2012 Surplus, $250 Million Local Impact

WCA Hospital was in the black for 2012.

According to a report released Wednesday morning, WCA managed a $380,055 surplus last year.

The report, indicating total revenues collected at $107,891,541 and total expenses at $107,511,486, was given by Chuck Nazarro, director of finance, at the hospital’s 18th-annual meeting of the corporations. As a nonprofit organization in the medical field, WCA is considering these figures to be a positive sign during a challenging economic period for medical institutions.

According to the Healthcare Association of New York state’s 2013-14 state budget agenda, the operating and bottom line margins for New York state hospitals are among the worst in the nation, and well below the national average of 5.53 percent and 7.24 percent, respectively. This has contributed to the closing of 34 hospitals and 71 nursing homes throughout New York since 2000.

Additionally, the agenda indicates state hospitals are going to see more trouble over the next decade regarding cuts, including: $15.4 billion under the Affordable Care Act, $3.3 billion in additional Medicare inpatient coding adjustments, $1.3 billion from the fiscal cliff agreement and $2.1 billion pending under sequestration.

According to the HANYS impact report of 2010, WCA has an annual impact of $191,622,000 on the local economy. This was expanded upon by Timothy Black, treasurer of the WCA’s board of directors.

“In addition to providing vital health care and specific programs that meet the community’s needs, WCA Hospital is considered an economic engine, extending itself far beyond its role as the cornerstone of healthcare,” he said. “When factoring in the contribution of our medical staff, WCA has an estimated total impact of $250 million a year on our local economy. With an operating budget of nearly $100 million, WCA therefore generates more than $2 of economic return for every $1 it spends.”

ROBOTIC SURGERY

WCA also has the distinguishing characteristic of being the only hospital in the Southern Tier to house and operate robotic surgery. Utilizing a recently acquired da Vinci surgical system, the hospital has been implementing groundbreaking surgical techniques with an extra dose of precision.

Timothy Brown, M.D., F.A.C.S. and board-certified surgeon, introduced the new form of surgery.

“The da Vinci robot is a wonderful platform to advance surgical techniques beyond what you ever thought they could do,” he said. “Multi-port robotic surgery is awesome, and it’s been going on for about the past 10 years, but it had significant drummings because it was cumbersome, hard to set up and kind of slow. But now, with the advancement of the arm technology of this pulley system, we’re able to do a lot more advanced surgeries quicker than ever before.”

The da Vinci surgical system consists of a surgeon’s console and a patient-side cart with four interactive robot arms, which are controlled from the console. Three of the arms are for holding operating tools and performing the operation, while the fourth arm carries an endoscopic camera which gives the the surgeon full stereoscopic vision in the console. A series of hand- and foot-operated controllers allow the surgeon to perform minimally invasive surgery by translating hand movements into more precise micro-movements of the operating instruments.

“It’s amazing how much technology we have at a hospital this size,” Brown continued. “And this is just a perfect example of what WCA has done – advance us to being in the forefront of general surgery.”

The meeting also highlighted several other services, achievements and activities that came about last year.

The molecular testing platform has been expanded, utilizing the most cutting-edge technology available in laboratories to launch several new in-house tests. The WCA Palliative Care Program was introduced to improve the lives of patients and families facing serious illness. A recent grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation supported the hospital’s purchase of a digital wheelchair scale, which benefits patients diagnosed with cancer and receiving radiation therapy treatment at the WCA Cancer Treatment Center.

New technology acquisitions include: the iLogic System, which benefits lung cancer patients by offering a minimally invasive option to locate, enable biopsy and plan treatment for a lesion detected deep in the lung; and mobile bladder scanners for the Special Care Unit and the Ambulatory Services Center, which enables nurses to view the bladder and its contents exactly through sonogram technology and were funded through grants from the Johnson Foundation and the Holmberg Foundation.

The hospital now also offers hotel-style room service dining, allowing patients to order what they want, when they want it, in accordance with medical dietary orders.