WCA Reviews Year, Talks 2014 Goals

WCA Hospital held its annual community meeting on Tuesday morning, with a broad review of the organization’s 2013 accomplishments and future goals.

Betsy Wright, president and chief executive officer of WCA, said the hospital celebrated the one-year anniversary of the opening of a new emergency department.

“That’s very important in serving the needs of both the Jamestown area and the entire community,” she said, adding that more than 46,000 patients have been served in the department since it opened. “We just keep getting better and better – our times, our measurements, everything. The patient satisfaction continues to improve.”

There were 7,342 in-patients, more than 26,000 outpatient services provided and 634 babies delivered last year.

Wright went on to announce WCA was recognized as one of the 41 healthiest employers ranked by Buffalo Business First.

“Not only were we one of the 41 healthiest employers but in the large employer category we had the highest score for all of the employers,” Wright said.

Two of the most important events of 2013 were the implementation of both robotic surgery and electronic medical records, she said.

“We are within a very elite group of hospitals, as only 12 percent of hospitals have been able to achieve the same level of implementation,” Wright said.

More than 200 robotic procedures have been performed by the seven certified physicians licensed to operate the da Vinci surgical system.

“We are very pleased to be the first and only hospital in the Southern Tier to have implemented robotic surgery, which has led to shorter hospital stays, faster recovery and a faster return to normal activities for our patients,” Wright said.

Lastly, she touched on the future of health care reform and said the hospital is adjusting just like every other health care provider across the country.

However, the hospital expects to lose $45 million over the course of 10 years.

“That’s $37 million more to go,” she said, noting the hospital has lost $8 million in recent years. “We continue to take steps to remain very mindful of our accountability to the community, our responsibility to meet the health care needs of the community and to continue to focus on improving their health.”

Chief Financial Officer Chuck Nazzaro gave a presentation about 2013 income and expenditures.

Total charges for patient services were $2.3 million, while some of those charges were not paid because of discounts due to government mandates and free care to patients who could not afford the care they received.

More than $5 million in medical bills were unpaid.

Salaries and benefits for employees totaled almost $60 million. The hospital’s total operating expense for 2013 was $106 million, with a total revenue amount of $104 million.

Sources of payment for patient care were Medicare, Medicaid, commercial insurance programs and private individual pay. Medicare made up for 48.2 percent of payments, with Medicaid at 21.2 percent.

“As you can see, about 70 percent of our services are related to Medicare and Medicaid, which are governmental payers,” Nazzaro said. “We are a not-for-profit, and we treat everyone regardless of their ability to pay.”

Wright concluded that WCA is considered an economic engine, extending itself far beyond a healthcare facility.

She said the hospital has an impact of $196 million on the local economy through payroll and purchases through local vendors.

Furthermore, when factoring in the contribution of medical staff, WCA Hospital has an estimated total impact of $250 million per year.

“With an operating budget of nearly $100 million, WCA, therefore generates more than $2 of economic return for every $1 it spends,” she concluded.