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Fahd speaks of MMH’s impact on the community in chamber address

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MASSENA - With Massena Memorial Hospital responsible for 650 jobs in the Massena community, it’s impact is essentially priceless, although its CEO was able to attach a number to in his speech at the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet Thursday night.

According to CEO Charles F. Fahd II, the hospital has 418 employees and is Massena’s third largest employer behind Alcoa and the Massena Central School District.

“Just our employees generate over $55,000,000 for the local economy,” he said, noting the hospital’s 418 employees accounted for a total payroll of $31,000,323 in 2012.

Mr. Fahd said when physicians who work at the hospital, although not directly employed by the hospital, and their staff are considered that number rises to 650 employees with a total payroll of $47,341,000.

In addition to payroll, Mr. Fahd said the community also benefits from the $28,407,000 spent on supplies last year. Mr. Fahd’s presentation included the highlights of a report designed to show the hospital’s impact in the community that was prepared with the assistance of the Healthcare Association of New York State.

Those employees, he said are responsible for contributing $1,000,000 in sales tax to the state and another $1,150,000 locally. When the $4,468,000 they paid in federal income tax and the $1,499,000 paid in state income taxes is also considered, those 650 employees generate $8,117,000 in tax revenue, not even including the property taxes many of them pay.

“Our community, we believe relies on us greatly,” he said, noting hospitals in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey were recently in the spotlight for the care they provided their communities during Super Storm Sandy.

“Massena Memorial was no different during the ice storm,” he said. “People came to us because they knew we would be there.”

Mr. Fahd also noted that Massena Memorial Hospital provided more than $1 million in charity care last year.

“We provide care to people with no insurance and the care they receive is no different than the care received by people with those Cadillac plans that are available to some of us,” he said.

Providing a breakdown of the services they offered last year, he said the hospital treated 2,660 inpatients and had another 717 patients, whose hospital stays were classified as observations.

“What’s the difference?” he asked. “Every time an observation patient hits the bed, we’re losing big bucks.”

He explained an observation patient may be sick and receiving the same care as an inpatient, but for whatever reason their insurance company didn’t consider it necessary for them to be in the hospital. The average difference in reimbursement, he said, is roughly $5,000.

The hospital’s emergency room saw 18,491 patients, with its veterans clinic seeing hosting 10,769 visits and its dialysis center hosting 7,087 visits.

“Our dialysis center is operating at capacity,” he said.

The Kids Korner pediatric center hosted 7,645 visits and the hospital welcomed 225 new babies into the world. A walk-in clinic that opened late in 2012 has also been a success so far seeing 604 patients in its first month alone.

“It’s been a huge hit and a huge benefit to the community,” he said, adding some emergency room patients are rerouted to the clinic helping to boost efficiency there and reduce emergency room wait times.

Mr. Fahd continued, “It’s up to us to make sure we’re bringing new doctors into our community. A lot of doctors aren’t seeing new patients.”

With that in mind, Mr. Fahd said the hospital is preparing to open a new $4 million medical office building that has helped them retain a physician who was contemplating leaving Massena and bring another new doctor to the community.

Mr. Fahd has been the CEO at Massena Memorial Hospital since 1997, coming to Massena after serving as the CEO at the Mayo Regional Hospital in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine.

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