Bristol Hospital reports loss

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by JAMILA YOUNG

STAFF WRITER

During Bristol Health’s annual meeting of the corporators, the city’s second largest employer reported losing money.

There was total loss from a consolidated basis from operations of $10.8 million, and a loss of $31.4 million total. Bristol Hospital had a loss of $1.3 million from operations, with a total loss of $21.5 million.

The majority of the operating loss came from the Bristol Health Multi-Specialty Group, which is a physician’s group located in downtown Bristol. The group saw an operating loss of $8.5 million, as well as a total loss of $8.5 million.

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“It is important to note that the medical group, like hospital-related medical groups throughout the state and country, generate losses related to the fact that they treat all patients, regardless of their ability to pay for services,” said Bristol Health’s finance committee chairman, Louis Auletta Jr.

“Of the total $31.4 million loss, nearly 75% of it was related to the termination of our defined benefit pension plan, and refinancing of our 2002 bonds,” said Auletta Jr. “It is important to note that the termination and refinancing loss of $23.4 million was non-cash. Our plan was frozen in 2006, meaning that to new participants were able to enter the plan, and existing participants earned no additional years of service after 2006. The plan, as any defined benefit plan, is subject to multiple risk factors: interest rates, stock market returns, and life expectancy. In addition, defined benefit plans are overseen, regulated, and insured by the federal government.”

Auletta Jr. said the bond allowed the hospital to fully fund the plan, and then terminate it, so that those under the plan knew that their future payment obligations were protected, and to reduce, and get rid of any risk factors.

“While the numbers evoke concern, the execution of key financial strategies, the implementation of new systems, the identification, and focus on opportunities and investments tell a much different story – a story of setting the stage, a strong foundation. Building on strategies that will insure that we are caring today for your tomorrow of years to come,” said Auletta Jr.

Bristol Health President & CEO, Kurt Barwis said the losses were all one-time losses, and that the hospital is focused on a sustainable future, and a path forward. “The financial number is behind us. We need to focus on the future,” said Barwis.