At a time when hospitals and health systems across the country struggle with rising pharmaceutical, supply and labor expenses and difficult reimbursement climates, The Guthrie Clinic’s approach to growth initiatives and disciplined efforts at managing costs have allowed the organization to flourish. As a result, in May 2018 Guthrie’s revenue bond rating was upgraded from A+ to AA- by Fitch Ratings. Guthrie is also rated annually by Standard & Poors (S&P) and is also rated AA-. According to S&P, this rating places Guthrie is in the top 14% of all rated hospitals.
According to Guthrie President and CEO, Dr. Joseph Scopelliti, “The ratings agencies serve as an independent assessor of Guthrie’s ability to make full and timely repayment of the principal and interest on its debt but for us internally it is also a detailed independent assessment of our business plans, financial results measured against previous forecasts, allocation of capital, and our attention to strategic and financial trends.” Scopelliti continued, “The new rating is the result of years of prudent planning which continues today. Like all health care systems, we are dealing with increasing costs and their effect on operating margin. However, our history of strong financial performance has enabled us to continually reinvest in health services for the communities we serve. This investment in health services, in turn, improves the quality of life in the area not only clinically but also by providing stable employment thereby supporting the local economy.”
Evidence of these investments in health care includes the current expansion of the Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital Emergency Department and construction of a new cardiovascular lab, the addition of 100,000 combined square feet of office space with the construction of a new Medical Office Building adjacent to Guthrie Corning Hospital, and the expansion of the Guthrie Medical Group in Big Flats.
A comparison of the first three quarters of FY 17 with FY18 shows ambulatory encounters have increased by 5.7%, hospital inpatient admissions have grown by 4.3% and surgical cases have increased by 4.6%. While system growth has resulted in the need for additional space, Scopelliti points out that Guthrie is patient-centric in its placement of new and relocated services, keeping frequently-used services such as primary care and pediatrics central to the communities they serve.
•The new 60,000 square foot Corning Medical Office Building will relocate Corning-based surgical and medical specialty services which provide hospital-based care, including OB/GYN, Cardiology, General Surgery, Orthopedics, GI, Pulmonary, Urology and ENT services.
•The 45,000 square foot Big Flats Medical Office Building will house Cardiology, Pediatrics, Occupational Medicine, Endocrinology, Neurology, OB/GYN, Orthopedics, Pain Management, General Surgery, ENT, Pulmonary, Rehabilitation (PT/OT), Plastic Surgery, Urology, Vascular Surgery, Infectious Disease and additional square footage for future growth.
Additionally, the purchase of land in Tompkins County, will allow for a second Guthrie Medical Group location in Ithaca while Guthrie and Cortland Regional Medical Center are exploring possible affiliation.