By Mathew Keller, RN JD
Regulatory and Policy Nursing Specialist
Hennepin County Medical Center’s 2015 numbers are in, and many HCMC employees on the chopping block might be surprised by them. Despite HCMC’s public statements contributing layoffs to a “financial challenge,” 2015 was its second-most profitable year on record as the healthcare system pocketed $28.6 million in net income—up from $11.5 million in 2014.
HCMC’s MNA nurses are calling on HCMC CEO Jon Pryor to act with more transparency regarding these layoffs. This is not a good start for Dr. Pryor, who stated in an all-employee email on December 9, 2016, “if you’ve been paying attention to the media, you know that HCMC is not the only healthcare organization facing a financial challenge right now.” Only two months prior, the CEO had signed off on the financial report showing the huge 2015 net income increase.
MNA nurses also know that healthcare systems in general, and HCMC in particular, have been huge beneficiaries as the rate of healthcare insurance coverage has increased. More people covered equals more bills getting paid. HCMC, the state’s largest provider of charitable care, has seen its uncompensated care costs decline by more than 40 percent over the past several years, which has resulted in the savings of tens of millions of dollars.
While HCMC has not been forthcoming with the public or its employees regarding its 2015 profits, MNA obtained their IRS 990 Form financial report. It is, perhaps, unsurprising that HCMC has not gone public with these numbers in light of the large financial gains the healthcare system is showing, in comparison to its stated need to cut staff in order to save money.
HCMC’s 2015 financial report has other revelations as well, including hefty pay increases for executive staff, millions spent on lobbying (including lobbying the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, who approved these layoffs), and further declines in the amount of charitable care the county hospital provides.