RANGELY I Rangely District Hospital is planning a public meeting for the third week of March to discuss budget cuts and the possible impact of those cuts on the community.
Hospital board chairman Steve Petersburg said the hospital is looking to eliminate approximately $1 million from the budget. However, Petersburg and hospital CEO Nick Goshe want the public to know that despite the cuts the hospital is not closing.
Goshe said, “We are belt tightening, just like everyone else in town.”
The difficult financial situation facing the hospital is caused by a combination of things. The hospital is currently facing unprecedented mandates from the federal government that “hurt small hospitals,” Goshe said.
The Affordable Health Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, requires hospitals to use electronic medical record programs. This change will cost the hospital an additional $1 million per year and has cost at least three times more than the anticipated dollar amount to establish.
Another factor Goshe sites as damaging the hospital’s bottom line is the decline in people seeking health care services, which, he said, is a nationwide trend.
The hospital management team, which includes department heads, will begin meeting soon and eventually make recommendations to the board regarding where the cuts should be made.
Petersburg said he expects the entire process to be finished by July 1.
Once the board has set a date for the public meeting, notice will be given to the public. Goshe expects the meeting to occur somewhere between March 16-20.