NIHD faces additional reductions, cites more changes to come
Northern Inyo Healthcare District regrettably eliminated an additional six positions this week as part of its ongoing efforts to right size the 77-year-old healthcare organization. These reductions include both union and non-unionized jobs concentrated within administration and support roles.
According to Stephen DelRossi, NIHD’s Chief Financial Officer and interim Chief Executive Officer, these reductions follow careful consideration and are driven by a commitment to sustainable patient care for the Northern Inyo communities. “These decisions are not made lightly but are unfortunately necessary for our future,” DelRossi says.
NIHD executives and team continue to monitor all service lines for improvements to the District’s financial situation. Specifically, the work is concentrated around service line growth to make each line no less than net neutral.
“Our commitment to the community is to provide services efficiently and sustainably,” DelRossi says. “Unfortunately, not all service lines are viable as they lose money and do not provide basic services, often seen as elective procedures. We aim to provide the best care to the largest base in the most effective model.”
DelRossi acknowledges that the term right-sizing can seem grating. Still, he insists it is the best way to describe the resource reallocation underway at NIHD for the past 10 months.
“Resource allocation is most important when any business is facing financial challenges,” DelRossi says. “For us, it means putting the right people in the right place in a timely manner to handle patient care. Sometimes, we see a need for an increase in personnel, a decrease, or a change in scheduling, and sometimes there are no changes. Everything is truly on a case-by-case basis at this point.”
DelRossi says the changes made in fiscal year 2022-23 decreased NIHD’s projected loss in financial position from more than $24 million to approximately $15 million. While NIHD still had a loss, DelRossi says the District made significant improvements.
The interim CEO says NIHD is budgeted to have a negative change in financial position of $15.9 million in the coming fiscal year but notes staff have identified approximately $8.4 million in adjustments. “While this is still a loss, we are confident that over the coming year, we will be able to make more adjustments as we work to recover the District,” he says.
Times remain tough for healthcare organizations across the nation. Challenged by inflation, rising supply costs, and predicted physician and nursing shortages, healthcare continues to toil under low Medicare, Medicaid, and Medi-Cal reimbursement rates. While some reimbursement relief exists on the 2025 horizon, most organizations also struggle to recover pre-pandemic patient volumes. For NIHD, unearthed past financial issues have also contributed to the tenuous situation.
“There is no question every healthcare organization must continue to look at how it meets the needs of its communities and its patients, and then make necessary adjustments,” DelRossi says. “We feel with the support of our community, our patients, and our team, and with a focus on long-term sustainability, NIHD can recover. It will take time and patience and all of us working together for a positive outcome.”
About Northern Inyo Healthcare District: Founded in 1946, Northern Inyo Healthcare District features a 25-bed critical access hospital, a 24-hour emergency department, a primary care rural health clinic, a diagnostic imaging center, and clinics specializing in women’s health, orthopedics, pediatrics, allergies, general surgery, colorectal surgery, breast cancer surgery, and urology. Continually striving to improve the health outcomes of those who rely on its services, Northern Inyo Healthcare District aims to improve our communities one life at a time. One team, one goal, your health.