Taking issue with list
Ifound the list of “Most profitable criticalaccess hospitals” (Dec. 19/26, 2011, p. 32) and a follow-up letter to the editor (Jan. 9, p. 23) very misleading. The hospital I work for, Advocate Eureka Hospital, was listed as the sixth most profitable hospital, with a net income of $12.9 million.
I was shocked to see AEH’S name on the list with such a large amount of net income. I have worked at AEH for 25 years. Many years we end with a net loss; in fortunate years, a small amount of net income. Our hospital’s net income for fiscal 2009 was $257,200.
In my follow-up conversations with the staff at IMS Health (the source of the data), we discovered that the net income listed on the report came from our hospital systems’ consolidated balance sheet. In fiscal 2009, our hospital was part of Bromenn Healthcare in Normal, Ill. This system included a much larger acute-care hospital, a home health agency and numerous joint ventures.
I dispute the opinion that once a criticalaccess hospital becomes part of a larger system, it is no longer critical to the rural community and becomes a feeder to the larger system. We not only provide excellent local healthcare, but also employment opportunities and economic stimulus. Being a part of a larger system helps strengthen our ability to serve the local community. If the CMS then removes the criticalaccess hospital designation, even for hospitals that are part of a system, I have a feeling you will see several critical-access hospital closures. Anna M. Laible
Administrator Advocate Eureka Hospital