Hard Work, Innovation Lead Mercy Back to Black

PORTLAND, ME –  Mercy Health System (Mercy Hospital and VNA Home Health Hospice) and EMHS are pleased to share that Mercy marked its first year as a member of EMHS by closing the 2014 fiscal year in the black.

Eileen Skinner, FACHE, Mercy president and CEO, and senior vice president of EMHS, says, “Going from a $12.6 million operating loss in fiscal year 2012, to a 2013 $5.9 million nine month operating loss, to a $3.4 million operating income in fiscal year 2014 is an accomplishment worth celebrating.” Skinner is also quick to point out that this accomplishment is the result of cost savings, budget controls, strong revenue management, and a lot of hard work by many people at both EMHS and Mercy.

This positive financial picture completes Mercy’s strategic turnaround plan and demonstrates the value in being part of a strong integrated health delivery system. It was in 2011, amid a weak economy, limited finances, and pending federal healthcare reform that Mercy proactively developed a multi-year blueprint that identified efficiencies, and focused on expense management and growth initiatives. That is also when Mercy began searching for the appropriate health system to join that could meet its needs for scale, accountable care, and care innovation. Skinner says Mercy’s mission of service was the guiding force that helped make the right investments in the right places, at the right time. “It is especially remarkable that Mercy is realizing this turnaround while at the same time remaining a high quality, low cost provider of health services. Mercy is well-positioned to serve the communities of southern Maine for many years to come,” she says.

M. Michelle Hood, FACHE, president and CEO of EMHS, said that to some, Mercy becoming a member of EMHS may have seemed an unusual strategic decision. “However our analysis demonstrated that Mercy would be a strong fit with EMHS culture and a positive addition to the work we are doing in building an integrated delivery system focused on population health.  I am so pleased to see the positive turnaround in our first year together,” says Hood. Mercy occupies an important role in meeting community need for primary and secondary care, and the improved financial position assures that they will continue to meet that role. Mercy is known for providing excellent primary care and community care, and as a member of EMHS these services are even better with best-in-class care coordination and enhanced electronic medical records. “Hood continues, “Working together we are both stronger and more able to help those we serve to live as healthy a life as possible.”

When Mercy officially became a member of EMHS in the fall of 2013, EMHS committed to completing the hospital’s relocation to its campus along the Fore River Parkway in Portland. Established in 2008, Mercy Fore River features a medical office building, and a modern hospital that provides inpatient and outpatient care. The Fore River consolidation is a matter of economics and convenience, says Derrick Hollings, EMHS senior vice president and chief financial officer. “There are many inefficiencies and redundancies that result from operating two hospitals within a mile of one another.” Hollings went on to say that this substantial investment would not be coming from EMHS coffers, but rather from the savings Mercy will continue to realize from restructuring. “None of this will happen overnight, and there are likely to be some challenges along the way. With a continued focus on the benefits of being a system, together we will get to where we need to be,” Hollings remarks.

About Mercy Health System of Maine
Mercy Health System, a member of EMHS, includes Mercy Hospital, Gary’s House, McAuley Residence, Mercy Recovery Center, and VNA Home Health Hospice. Mercy Health System provides a broad range of medical and surgical services, as well as nine primary care locations, five express care locations, and 17 sub-specialty physician practices ranging from thoracic and spine surgery, to ENT and cancer care. More information on Mercy is available at www.mercyhospital.org.
About EMHS
The mission of EMHS is to maintain and improve the health and well-being of the people of Maine through a well-organized network of local healthcare providers who together offer high-quality, cost-effective services to their communities. EMHS, headquartered in Brewer, Maine, is a not-for-profit health delivery system, with a strong presence in central, eastern and northern Maine. EMHS employs more than 10,000 people, including more than 600 physicians. The system includes eight hospitals, five emergency transport units, including half of the joint venture that is LifeFlight of Maine, a strong home care and hospice organization, and nine nursing homes and retirement communities. For more information go to www.emhs.org.

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