Hutcheson, which is in Fort Oglethorpe, has lost $4,239,287 million since October 2011 — nearly $1.3 million more than was lost the previous year over a four-month period. In January alone the rural hospital lost $982,953 — $119,269 more than was lost in January 2011.
However, the expenditure gap appears to be closing, Hutcheson CEO and president Roger Forgey said during a hospital finance committee meeting on Feb. 22. Hutcheson spent $4.8 million in January, $396,183 less than the month’s $5.3 million expense budget.
Hospital officials blamed January’s disappointing profits on a rise in uncompensated care and slow reimbursements from private and government insurers along with lagging in-patient care rates.
Erlanger, Hutcheson’s parent company, also faces a financial uphill climb.
Erlanger, which is headquartered in Chattanooga, lost $2.1 million in January, according to the health system’s monthly finance report. Erlanger had budgeted for a $1.7 million loss. In January 2011 Erlanger lost $986, 211. So far this budget year, Erlanger tallied a $12.5 million loss, twice the $6 million loss budgeted.
Hutcheson entered a management agreement with Erlanger on May 26, 2011. So far Erlanger has extended $7.2 million in credit to the Fort Oglethorpe hospital.
In December 2011, the public learned Erlanger had suffered financial losses. Subsequently, the health system released a labor management plan to include furloughs, voluntary buy-outs and lay offs.
Forgey announced there also would be layoffs at Hutcheson. Hospital officials plan to cut less than 5 percent of Hutcheson’s 825 employees over the next two months, according to news reports. Hutcheson laid off 75 workers in April 2011, prior to its partnership with Erlanger. The hospital is also considering downsizing its 176-bed capacity by at least 100 beds, according to news reports.