Care New England’s 9-month loss hits $46M

Fewer patients, more Medicaid for parent company of Women & Infants Hospital

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Care New England, Rhode Island’s No. 2 hospital group, reported Thursday its operations lost $46.3 million during the first nine months of this fiscal year after the company ran more red ink during the spring.

Care New England’s operating loss totaled $6.5 million from April 1 to June 30, an improvement over the previous two quarters, when the amount totaled $26 million and $13.9 million, respectively. The company had originally expected to lose only about $3 million for the entire year.

Care New England spokesman Jim Beardsworth called the latest numbers “a significant improvement” and noted that the group’s monthly losses have been easing over the course of 2017. The company said it hopes its operations will be breaking even by September.

A key problem has been Care New England’s flagship hospital, Women & Infants, which was expected to be in the black but has instead suffered an operating loss of $10.4 million since October. Memorial Hospital lost $16 million, slightly more than expected, and Butler Hospital lost $3 million.

The company blamed a drop in patient numbers – with net patient revenue more than 8% lower than expected so far this fiscal year – and a shift toward more patients on Medicaid, which pays lower reimbursement rates.

“While we are pleased to be heading in the right direction, we know there is much more work to do for further improvement,” Beardsworth said. “We will continue to aggressively assess and implement all opportunities across CNE that serve to strengthen our financial stability while continuing to provide exceptional care to the community.”

The challenging financial results follow Care New England’s April announcement that it has reached deals to merge with Partners HealthCare, Massachusetts’ biggest hospital group, and spin off Memorial to Prime Healthcare, owner of Landmark Medical Center. The president of Women & Infants also abruptly stepped down last week.

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook