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E.J. Noble Hospital lost big in 2012

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GOUVERNEUR — E.J. Noble Hospital closed the books on 2011 with a large financial loss.

The hospital lost $690,000, primarily because it had to absorb an $800,000 adjustment through Blue Cross/Blue Shield based on an outpatient program that was formatted incorrectly.

“It was a systems error on their program. They expect you to pick up their error and correct it,” hospital Administrator Charles P. Conole said. “That was the big hit. We negotiated it long and hard and finally we wanted it behind us.”

The hospital also suffered financially because its new wing with updated patient rooms did not open until February. Patients who could held off coming to the hospital.

“People knew we were moving,” Mr. Conole said. “We had a 9 percent drop in patient admissions in 2011. It wasn’t a good year for us.”

Kinney Nursing Home, which is affiliated with the hospital, also lost $115,000. The nursing home almost always loses money. “That seems to be the standard when 37 of 40 patients are Medicaid,” Mr. Conole said.

The hospital’s cash flow has suffered because the state cut Medicaid payments by 2 percent .“That’s hurt us,” he said. “Twenty-three percent of our patients overall are Medicaid.”

Cutbacks in Medicare, the federal government’s health insurance program for senior citizens, also could wound the hospital in the future, Mr. Conole said.

The hospital will try to absorb the losses the best it can, he said.

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