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GHS board approves 2017 budget

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Greenville Health System will operate with a $2.3 billion budget for 2017. The budget was approved by both the Upstate Affiliate Organization and the GHS Board of Trustees.

The 2017 budget – which is an increase over the $2.2 billion 2016 budget – includes the addition of 124 new employees, most of which will be physicians, nurses, mid-level medical providers and clinical support staff.

Mike Riordan, president and CEO of the Strategic Coordinating Organization for GHS – the body providing strategic direction to the Upstate Affiliate Organization, said the system has to “continue to take costs out of the budget.”

“I think we are above 1% margin and if things break our way, we can be even better,” Riordan said.

He said the overall budget means the fourth year the hospital system has not budgeted any rate increases for services.

“Our budget reflects our focus and we are putting dollars in our budget to help with population health,” Riordan said.

The Board of Trustees' budget for 2017 includes a cash retention fund of $1 million that will be used to cover any expenses related to the agreement the body has with the Upstate Affiliate Organization. Terri Newsom, GHS CFO said the retention fund will be replenished as it is needed.

The Board of Trustees' budget also has a newly-established community fund that allocates $4 million annually for the board to use for research and education as well as any health-related care initiatives. The budget includes a $32 million line item payable to the state for its teaching retention program. Newsom said the state is behind in collecting those payments, but she said the line item will remain on the books until the state seeks out the payment.

The board is also responsible for the hospital’s police system which the services will be purchased from the Upstate Affiliate Organization. The trustees will also have the operating expenses of the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly which is a fixed-rate program with Medicare and Medicaid that allows GHS to provide comprehensive medical and social services to the elderly. The federal government pays GHS a flat rate to provide that care. PACE and the police department have total expenses of $3.7 million.

Newsom said the profit/loss statement for the Board of Trustees will be $0 as revenues will offset expenses. Newsom also pointed out that there was no line item in either budget providing for compensation for board members.

“There are no salaries included in the budgets,” Newsom said. “This is a voluntary board.”

There is, however, $15,000 built into the Board of Trustees' budget for conference expenses as well as to offset the expense of bringing in any experts the board may deem necessary to help set up the community fund the board will oversee.

“We were anticipating this group may need help with that process,” Newsom said.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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