Massena (N.Y.) Memorial Hospital board of managers approved a plan to write off more than $630,000 in bad debt for April and May. The amount brought the annual total to $1.4 million at a time when recoveries total $279,000.

The hospital finished May with $3.8 million in net patient revenue, 10.8% below budget, and other revenue came in at 45.5% below budget, at $169,582. That left a total operating revenue of $3.96 million. At the same time, the hospital had $4.7 million in operating expenses.

Hospital board member Paul B. Morrow said the hospital once wrote off $20,000 to $30,000 per month. "Did we drop the ball or did we start being complacent and just don’t care if they paid when they left?” he asked, according to the Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times. Morrow openly wondered if the hospital is "wasting time" trying to collect bad debt to which James L. Smith, the hospital's chief financial officer, advised the hospital is not collecting internally but using outside collection agencies.

Smith said the hospital has experienced an increase in collections for current accounts.

Massena Memorial, he added, receives some money from indigent care pool distribution forms, formerly known as bad debt charity care pools, that return to the hospital portions of the bad debt. He did not discuss how much or what percentage. 

Massena is located in upstate New York and has a population of approximately 13,000.

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