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MidState logs another solid year, despite economy’s ills

By Mary Ellen Godin
Record-Journal staff

November 15, 2011

WALLINGFORD — MidState Medical Center announced its 12th consecutive operating surplus in an economy in which any surplus is considered a measure of good fiscal health.

The operating margin for the 2011 fiscal year, ending Sept. 30, was $8.6 million, or 4 percent of net operating revenue.

Although not as high as last year’s, it was a noteworthy performance for one of the state’s top 10 hospitals, said Ralph Becker, MidState’s chief financial officer. The hospital’s operating margin in 2010 was 5.3 percent, and 3.2 percent in 2009.

MidState held its annual meeting Monday at the Connecticut Hospital Association on Barnes Road and presented its Crystal Obelisk Award, which since 1991 has honored people and groups for outstanding contributions to health care, to Dr. Sherwin Borsuk.

Borsuk joined the medical staff of Meriden-Wallingford Hospital in 1978, specializing in diagnostic radiology, and went on to lead a number of committees and serve as a physician representative on the hospital’s board of directors. He also chaired the Project Oversight Committee from 1996 to 1998 and was “recognized for his service, guidance, support and quiet strength in the planning, construction and move to Mid State’s new building on Lewis Avenue in 1998,” said Bruce Eldridge, chairman of the hospital’s board of directors.

“He is a mentor to his staff, is proactive in making things easier for them to be more productive, and is adamant about providing the highest quality services,” Eldridge continued.

Borsuk told the crowd of about 200 employees, directors and incorporators that he’s been “fortunate to be in this community” and a “member of a team that just does a great job day in and day out and makes the jobs of physicians like myself that much easier.”

“These have been tumultuous times,” Borsuk said. 

MidState’s performance drop from last year comes from an investment the hospital made with Hartford Healthcare and Children’s Medical Center in medical malpractice insurance that manages risks and sets premiums affiliated with the hospitals. The investment, which provided a boost in 2010, didn’t perform as well in 2011 and must be calculated as part of the operating budget, Becker said.

“Actually, it’s good to have a positive margin in these times,” Becker said.

MidState has seen steady revenue growth, opening more services and expanding in size over the past few years.

But MidState’s biggest challenge, as is the case at other hospitals, is government cutbacks.

“This is the beginning of the beginning,” Becker said.

Hartford Healthcare President Elliot Joseph shared the group’s vision of a coordinated, integrated network that seamlessly provides health care — from diagnostics to treatment to discharge to follow-up care.

The many members of Hartford Healthcare — including Rushford Behavioral Health Centers, Windham Hospital, the Institute for Living, Mid-State and the Hospital of Central Connecticut — can consolidate needed services and patient record-keeping to improve the quality of care and reduce readmission, he said.

“All of our staff are doing their jobs in wonderfully helpful ways,” Joseph said. “While miracles are being done every day, there are patients falling through the cracks. The system is too fragmented.”

Lucille Janatka, president and chief executive officer of MidState, echoed Joseph and told the group that MidState is well on the way to delivering a more coordinated system.

“The hard work comes between the ‘to’ and the ‘from,’" Janatka said. “We know we are on the road to implementing this vision.”

Last year, MidState concentrated on the Wallingford market and increased patient discharges from that town by 200. It also opened another MediQuick walk-in center in Cheshire and bolstered its neuroscience services and vascular programs.

With the completion of its emergency department just over a year ago, MidState has seen a 9 percent increase in emergency room visits, and its overall inpatient satisfaction has jumped to second place in the state, Janatka said.

Janatka said that, with more government programs withholding payment to hospitals based on quality, it’s critical that MidState work with physicians on how best to take patients from one level to the next.

“We’re well coordinated,” Janatka said. “My greatest pride is in our excellent clinical quality and patient safety. It takes every member of the team to reach those high standards.” 

(203) 317-2255

© 2011 The Record-Journal Publishing Co.

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