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Vidant Health completes year with higher quality and sound fiscal performance, prepares for challenging 2015

November 25, 2014 by Chris Mackey

 The Vidant Health system ended the 2014 fiscal year with one of its strongest performances in quality metrics ever and had a solid year fiscally as well. These numbers were reported at the Vidant Health Board quarterly meeting on Nov. 25. 

System quality numbers met or exceeded their targets in a majority of metrics including, a 22 percent decrease in harmful events and a 28 percent decrease in hospital acquired infections. Vidant Health provided optimal care 98 percent of the time for heart attack, heart failure, community acquired pneumonia and surgical care. 

The financial outlook was positive as well with an operating income of $79.5 million and an operating margin of 3.2 percent. Across the system, Vidant Health provided care to approximately 63,891 inpatients and 595,617 emergency and outpatients across eastern North Carolina.

“In 2014, Vidant Health improved the quality of care for our patients and had a sound year fiscally, despite the new regulatory pressures that will continue to change the health care landscape, especially in rural areas, which is much of our footprint”, said Interim CEO, Janet Mullaney. “In this new environment, we must look for opportunities to improve clinical integration while reducing the cost of care to our patients. “

The financial numbers decreased from the 2013 totals of $94.3 million in operating income and an operating margin of 4.0 percent. The decrease in operating income from the previous year amounts were largely due to fewer inpatient admissions and the implementation of the “Two Midnight Rule,” which requires all admissions at hospitals in which a physician expects discharge prior to the passing of the second midnight to be classified as “outpatient.” Unfortunately, the patients classified as outpatient utilized the same resources they had in the past, but Vidant was paid less for the care. 

2014 Quality Highlights:
• Six Vidant Health entities achieved top 10 percent performance for inpatient experience –Vidant Bertie, Vidant Chowan, Vidant Duplin, Vidant Edgecombe, the Outer Banks Hospital and Vidant SurgiCenter. 
• Readmissions for heart attack (AMI), heart failure (HF), and pneumonia (CAP) are all on target or on track to achieve top quartile performance of year.
• Vidant Medical Center continues to provide optimal care for patients with heart attack, heart failure, community acquired pneumonia and surgical care diagnoses more than 99 percent of the time. VMC has hit this target for six consecutive quarters. 
• Vidant Health was one of only four organizations chosen nationally to receive the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum (NQF) and The Joint Commission. The award was for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality at the Local Level.
• The Outer Banks Hospital and Vidant Edgecombe Hospital were recognized by the Joint Commission: Top Performers on Key Quality Measures.

2014 Year End Financial Highlights:

• Despite the decrease in operating income, Vidant Health increased its total cash position in 2014. 
• For fiscal year 2014, Vidant Health had an operating income of $79.5 million. 
o The days of cash on hand increased from 150.5 days to 171.9 days. Maintaining days in cash is an important metric for Vidant Health’s bond rating, which allows for the corporation to borrow money. 
o As a not-for-profit corporation, Vidant Health reinvests all of its income back into capital projects, equipment, facilities and access to services for the patients and communities we serve. In 2015, Vidant will break ground on a new cancer center in Greenville. 
• Although Vidant Community Hospitals experienced significant erosion in volume, they were able to meet budgeted expectations through aggressive productivity management and in more efficient use of inpatient facilities. 
• As the system enters fiscal year 2015, it faces uncertainty with regards to the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which will lower operating income next year.

In addition to Vidant Medical Center, Vidant Health includes Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington, Vidant Bertie Hospital in Windsor, Vidant Chowan Hospital in Edenton, Vidant Duplin Hospital in Kenansville, Vidant Edgecombe Hospital in Tarboro, Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie, and the Outer Banks Hospital in Nags Head, where it is a 60 percent owner. In addition to the hospitals, Vidant Health also has 70 physician practices, outpatient, home health and hospice services and critical care transport services. Last year, Vidant Health provided more than $120 million in unreimbursed care. More than 70 percent of patients treated at Vidant Health hospitals and clinics are paid for by government programs with rates set below the cost of caring. 
 
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