Local hospitals brace for impact of sequestration
It appears nothing will stop sequestration, a self-imposed series government funding cuts as a result of government's failure to rein in spending, from kicking in on Friday. Local hospitals are bracing for impact. "We can't do the same thing with less and less and less staff," says Richard Ketcham, President & CEO of St. Elizabeth Medical Center. It's not the impact from sequestration alone that has the financial officers of local hospitals somewhat battle-worn. It's the cumulative effect of that and other cuts, several million resulting from the Affordable Care Act. "So if you roll it all up, the eight-year total for the Bassett Healthcare Network would be around $130 million," says Bassett Healthcare President & CEO William Shreck, MD. The Healthcare Association of NY State estimates the financial impact of sequestration to be in the multi-millions for local hospitals over a nine-year period from this year through 2021. Faxton-St. Lukes Healthcare will lose around $13 million; St. Elizabeth Medical Center will lose roughly $11 million; Rome Memorial Hospital will lose just under $4 million; and Bassett Healthcare Network will lose $25 million. "The fact of the matter is, it's going to have an impact on staffing. It has to," says Ketcham, adding, "Right now with us losing money last year, I don't know how this additional cut is sustainable".