Sullivan County Democrat
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CRMC Facing
Tough Decisions

By Jeanne Sager
HARRIS — June 15, 2004 – Catskill Regional Medical Center is going for a leaner diet . . . $6 million leaner.
According to CEO Art Brien, the Harris facility is looking to trim the fat from its budget . . . this just a year after announcing that the hospital had doubled its revenues in four years.
“We’ve been expanding at a rapid pace,” Brien said.
Too rapid.
In 1999, the hospital raked in $50 million. Last year, the figures were closer to $100 million.
But with the federal government making cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, the small town hospital is starting to feel the pinch.
“The hospital business is a horrible business to be in right now,” Brien said.
So they’re looking to cut every bit of “extras” they can.
That includes the family health center in Livingston Manor that opened with much fanfare slightly more than a year ago.
That facility’s Spanish-speaking doctor, Cristina Ortega, is getting the axe as well.
Not for doing a bad job, Brien said – there just wasn’t enough “volume” in Livingston Manor.
Every department in the hospital has been directed to identify areas of potential savings.
That will include staff, Brien said.
“There are no sacred cows here,” he explained.
“Our charge is to provide service to the county, and we will continue to do that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to the best of our ability.”
The hospital plans to have its new budget in place by the beginning of July – further cuts will likely be announced after the next board of trustees meeting on June 21.

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