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Our opinion: A healthy hospital in Warren

The news delivered by Rick Allen, Warren General Hospital CEO, on Thursday is a far cry from the hospital’s annual meetings from 2015 through 2018.

For three consecutive years, the hospital ran deficits between $3 and $7 million a year. The 2020 financial year, which ended on June 30, resulted in a $5 million surplus that was achieved by bringing in 5% more operating revenue and finding 1.2% cuts in operating expenses.

It’s quite the turnaround story, particularly during a pandemic.

“Absent this pandemic, our trend lines were doing quite well,” Allen said.

Our hospital isn’t on life support, but it’s not a perfect picture of financial health either. Allen is quick to point out that there is a lot of work to do to recover from four financial years of multi-million dollar deficits. Last year saw Warren General add a 3D mammography suite, surgical suite air handlers, and nurse call systems in numerous departments, as well as some new tanks, exhaust, and grinder pumps.

More work is on the horizon, including a new CT simulator, a new linear accelerator and vault, roofing repair and renovation, signage, resurfacing and repairs in the parking garage, cooling tower replacement, chilled water system upgrades, and improvements in the Emergency Care Center and Rehabworks.

Looking farther out, the hospital needs to replace its elevators and the maternity department needs to be renovated.

These are good problems to have, but the laundry list of projects on the horizon is indicative of a hospital that needs continued financial health to add the type of equipment and infrastructure that will help the health care professionals who work at Warren General Hospital to bring physical health to more of our region’s residents.

Allen and his staff have done great work in the past two years. They have given us every reason to believe they will see this job through to the end.

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