Sunday News: “LGH surplus down, but healthy at $63.2 million”
Lancaster General Health has published its annual 990 federal financial report and the results are described in an unbiased first page article of the Sunday News. Below are excerpts with comments:
“Lancaster General Hospital’s yearly surplus fell last year for the fourth year in a row, due in large part to a growing number of patients relying on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid — and reimbursement rates that haven’t kept up with the cost of care…”
“[Spokesman John] Lines said 60 percent of LGH patients are enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid. “The other 40 percent is commercial insurance, people who are insured by their employer. That’s where we make our money.”
WATCHDOG: The main reason that LGH is able to earn extraordinarily high profits as compared to almost every other hospital in the state is its monopolistic control of hospital and other health care services which enables it to extract high reimbursements from insurance companies who in turn charge businesses and individuals more than would otherwise be the case. This is not necessarily a bad thing if the profits earned by this Public Charity were properly expended.
“We’ve moved staff from services that are either no longer in demand, or where demand is decreasing to areas where demand has been on the rise,” he said. “There’s an increased focus on wellness to make patients healthier before they need costly care. Going forward, LGH may rely more on philanthropy for new ventures.”
We cannot reconcile LGH’s unwillingness to provide funding to the Urban League when it offered to sponsor a syringe exchange with a “focus on wellness to make patients healther before they need costly care.”
Hospital CEO Thomas Beeman — a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserves who was on a military leave of absence from the hospital for eight months of the 12-month reporting period. Beeman was paid while on leave — in fact, he got a raise, though one lower than the LGH average. Beeman’s compensation totaled $1.35 million last year, up from $1.32 million the year before — a 2.1 percent increase.
“Lancaster General Hospital’s yearly surplus fell last year for the fourth year in a row, due in large part to a growing number of patients relying on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid — and reimbursement rates that haven’t kept up with the cost of care.”
At least half of the drop can be attributed to the $1,350,000 gift to Beeman and the extraordinary increase of compensation to Executive Vice President Jan Bergen, “$1.1 million in compensation last year — up from $733,145 the year before.” Bergen’s husband is partner in the law firm that LGH’s chairman heads.
“Lancaster General disbursed grants and other payments to local governments and other organizations totaling $4.3 million last year, up from $3.97 million the year before. The City of Lancaster received $1.38 million; the School District of Lancaster got $1.34 million.”
This is still tiny considering LGH is a public charity that generates mammoth profits and operates in a totally opaque manner. It has a self-selected board of trustees made up of white leaders of the medical profession and business establishment. As such, it lacks a smidgeon of diversity. Moreover, LGH refuses to allow public comment even at the single public annual meeting mandated by regulations.
We applaud the quality of care, competence and dedication of the medical staff and workers, but we do resent certain physicians and executives profiting excessively (and there is much we cannot see due to lack of transparency) while LGH’s mission, “To advance the health and well-being of the communities we serve,” is in many ways neglected.
It is time to return this captive Public Charity to a board of trustees that truly represents all aspects of the Lancaster community.