CARTHAGE Carthage Area Hospital will use a $9.1 million state grant it received last week to pay down its debt, said hospital interim CEO Adil Ameer.
The hospital has been in desperate financial condition for more than a year, with Carthage officials scrambling to find local and state loans and grants to keep the facility open as it restructures. The Healthcare Efficiency and Affordability Law (HEAL) for New Yorkers Capital Grant will pay off loans from Community and Key banks, according to Mr. Ameer.
They were provided for some outpatient and other expansion we implemented over the last three or four years, said Mr. Ameer. Itll provide us with financial assistance in essentially retiring that debt, which allows us to proceed with the implementation of the recovery plan, which we have in progress now.
Mr. Ameer said the hospital, 1001 West Street Road, has been reducing its debt, including a $3 million loan from the state Dormitory Authority of which $2 million is being used for Meadowbrook Terrace, an assisted-living facility now under construction. The $2 million portion will be paid off by other state funds the hospital will receive from a September 2010 HEAL grant Carthage Area Hospital shared with Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown. The remaining $1 million was to be used for general hospital expenses.
Also outstanding is a $250,000 line of credit from the Carthage Economic Development Corp. that was used for general expenses. The hospital will borrow the money over 10 years, at 3 percent interest. The hospital also has received similar sized loans from the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency and the Carthage Industrial Development Corp., and Thursday it received a $250,000 loan from the Development Authority of the North Country for Meadowbrook Terrace.
The hospital will continue to unravel its backlog of billing delays that began last year when a new billing system was installed. The resulting drop in receivables added to the hospitals financial problems. Last year the Times reported that the hospitals debt had at one point reached $21 million.
As the backlog is being eliminated, the hospital continues to make financial progress, Mr. Ameer said.
Our receivables have been going down, so billings become efficient, he said. We still have some work to do on that.
Straightening out the billing situation and looking toward other economic development councils for assistance in reducing the hospitals debt are some of the most immediate steps that will be taken toward stability, he said.