Regarding your recent article on New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. ("Turning around," May 19, p. 40), I'd like to clarify several points.
First, a profit of $143.4 million for a public hospital system is not just "any margin." It's a big margin. Furthermore, we anticipate HHC will end fiscal 1997 without a loss. This will mean HHC has been fiscally successful for a three-year period. That's no small feat for a public hospital system given our revenue base, payer mix and commitment to serving all, regardless of their ability to pay.
Second, the reasons for HHC's fiscal turnaround are summarized accurately by the Office of the State Deputy Comptroller: "The turnaround in HHC's short-term fiscal outlook is attributed to ongoing management actions to restructure facilities, eliminate 2,500 excess beds and reduce personnel by more than 8,000, as well as savings from renegotiating affiliation contracts and reduced lengths of inpatient stays."
The financial community was so impressed by HHC's performance that it snapped up our bond issue in a matter of hours.
Finally, HHC's major capital projects have not "come to a virtual standstill." Several major projects are currently approaching completion, such as the $250 million modernization of Elmhurst Hospital, the $48 million construction of the Susan B. Smith McKinney Nursing Facility at Kings County Hospital Center, and the $49 million construction of Harlem Hospital's new ambulatory-care building, to name a few. HHC spent $419 million in capital from 1994 to 1996.
Senior vice president,
chief financial officer
New York City
Health and Hospitals Corp.