CVPH Reports First Quarter Losses of $4.1 Million - Lower number of patient visits during pandemic a major contributor to deficit
After a sharp decline in patient visits and a consistent increase in COVID-19 related expenses, the University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) posted a $4.1 million loss in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021.
“There is no doubt that 2020 was a difficult year and 2021 is also off to a rocky start. The pandemic continues to upend our lives – at home and at work,” explained Alice Hyde Medical Center and CVPH President Michelle LeBeau.
“Patient visits have been steadily dropping with only a slight exception in the fall due to a rise in COVID cases. Then in late October, just as the new fiscal year began, the UVM Health Network was hit by a cyberattack, hindering our ability to schedule and see patients in the outpatient areas,” she said.
In December, CVPH posted an operating loss of $2.4 million, bringing the first quarter losses to $4.1 million. Fewer patients and higher acuity patients with longer hospitalizations accounted for much of the deficit.
LeBeau was quick to share that the financial shortfall does not tell CVPH’s whole story. She said that through it all, the CVPH team has been “at the top of their game.”
“Every day, our folks come to work committed to doing what is needed for all of our patients and their colleagues,” said LeBeau. “Picking up extra shifts, taking a new assignment or working a different shift - they are here for our patients and each other.”
The CVPH team has also done an extraordinary job managing expenses, resulting in an estimated $1.7 million savings for the organization, preventing further financial stress. Compensation and benefits in December, however, still exceeded budget, as “COVID-19 prompted the need to bring in traveling nurses and offer overtime to staff as more of our team was out of work due to exposure, illness and family leave,” LeBeau said.
CVPH has struggled financially for the past several years, ending the 2020 fiscal year with a $7.5 million operating deficit despite $31 million in federal COVID aid. In 2019 and 2018, the hospital lost $6.9 million and $8.7 million respectively.
“Many hospitals across the country, and especially in rural areas, are struggling just like us. Health care was in transition before COVID and the pandemic has accelerated that change. What we will become is yet to be determined. It’s unclear whether patients will return in the same numbers as before COVID. We really are in unchartered waters,” LeBeau explained.
Keeping resources aligned with the volume of patients and the needs of the community are priorities for the organization as it works to remain viable, according to LeBeau. The hospital is focused on implementing operational and financial improvements to address the challenges.
“We are working to improve our patients’ experience within the health care system, centralize scheduling, optimization of Epic (a unified health record), revenue capture, payer contracting and leadership accountability,” she said.
“The challenges our team have met and overcome in the past year is proof positive that we have an extraordinary people. And I believe it’s important for us to acknowledge and thank our families and loved ones. Their support makes it possible for us do what we do.”
Community support for CVPH has remained at an all-time high. Throughout the pandemic, words of encouragement and support, gifts of food and coffee for the staff have been common and greatly appreciated. Kerry Haley, Executive Director of The Foundation of CVPH, the hospital’s philanthropic arm, said that support for the hospital continues to be inspiring. Funds raised by the Foundation through generous donations help patients by supporting new small equipment purchases through the mini grant program, and fund life-changing programs and provide special incidental items through our Cart with a Heart program. Scholarships for employees and students considering a career in health care are also funded through donations. “In 2020, $1.1 million was donated through community support and distributed to directly benefit our patients, our people and our community,” Haley said.
“It’s been a long year and we’re all feeling its effects. We all want to go back to what was – before COVID. When that happens is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that changes are needed to ensure CVPH can meet the future head-on. What will remain constant is our team’s commitment to our patients and each other,” LeBeau said.
About Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
The University of Vermont Health Network - Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) is a private, not-for profit hospital in Plattsburgh, NY. Established in 1967 with the merger of Champlain Valley and Physicians Hospitals, CVPH joined Fletcher Allen Partners in 2012, which in 2014 became The University of Vermont Health Network. Together with its partner hospitals, the UVM Medical Group and a home health agency, CVPH provides high quality, cost effective care, close to home. Services include an award winning cardiac services program, accredited cancer center, freestanding ambulatory surgery center, comprehensive rehabilitation services and a 24 hour physician-staffed Emergency Department. Governed by a 15-member Board of Directors, CVPH is accredited by the Joint Commission and licensed by New York State and Medicare/Medicaid Approved. Learn more at UVMHealth.org/CVPH or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an integrated system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. The partners are:
- The University of Vermont Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network Medical Group
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Alice Hyde Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Porter Medical Center
- The University of Vermont Health Network – Home Health & Hospice
Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high-quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our affiliates remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.