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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

SOUTHPORT—In response to economic trends and in an effort to lower costs, the Dosher Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees has adopted a plan to curtail expenses and ensure the financial sustainability of Dosher Memorial Hospital.

The objective of the plan, which was developed by Dosher Hospital administration, is to reduce operational expenses while preserving job security for employees and not adversely affecting patient care.

“Healthcare is not immune from the economic downturn; everyone is feeling the pressure to reduce costs,” said Edgar Haywood, chief executive officer of Dosher Memorial Hospital. “Our commitment is to continue providing high-quality care and service now and into the sustainable future. These reductions in expenses are necessary to compensate for reductions in reimbursement and admissions, which are the direct result of a dwindling economy.”

Brunswick County’s only public-owned hospital, Dosher Hospital serves the health needs of everyone in the community.

This important mission, however, has become more difficult as the result of strenuous economic times. As reported in Dosher Hospital’s most recent 2008 annual report, the cost of providing care to community members who are in need and unable to pay increased 29 percent, or $1.5 million over fiscal year 2007. Last year’s cost of uncompensated care for Dosher Hospital was over $6.6 million.

In addition, decreases in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements are happening nationally as the population ages and requires more services. Also, new technologies and more regulations are increasing the cost of providing care.

“At this time, the hospital is completely, financially solvent,” said Kathryn Roberti, Dosher Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees chairperson.

“Administration is exploring revenue enhancement opportunities as well as implementing cost saving measures. These actions are being implemented proactively so we can avoid problems in the future. As elected officials and good stewards of our community’s welfare, we felt this was a necessary step.”

Dosher Hospital has identified operational initiatives to reduce costs, such as renegotiating contracts and bringing previously outsourced services in-house, as well as implementing budget cuts. In total, the adjustments to the budget should result in an estimated cost savings of $2.0 million over the next year.