St. John Health, Warren, Mich., owned by St. Louis-based Ascension Health, is projecting a $65 million shortfall for its fiscal 2004, which begins July 1. SJH spokeswoman Zoila Brown said the system, which provided more than $100 million in charity care last year at its nine hospitals, expects to post a $15 million operating profit for fiscal 2003, or a 1% operating profit margin. In 2002, SJH posted net income of $14.5 million on net patient revenue of $1.49 billion. Brown said SJH has been hit hard by declining Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, increasing pension plan expenses in a weak investment market and rising malpractice insurance costs. "To make our projected 1.5% margin (for fiscal 2004), we need to find $41 million in savings," Brown said. "We can't just break even. We have bills to pay." Although Brown said SJH doesn't break out financial performance for its individual hospitals, she said: "Our Detroit hospitals do provide a major financial challenge. We hope not to have layoffs; however we cannot discount that possibility." -- by Mark Taylor
Mich. system projects big deficit in '04
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