The state hospital recently warned its employees that the organization is facing financial difficulties because of rising costs. Today, hospital officials said the budget situation is looking brighter.
In a Sept. 30 memo to staff, Troy Jones, the hospital’s administration, said the state Administrative Services Division told officials that the hospital was unsuccessful in generating the revenue that it had projected.
As a result, the hospital — known formally as the New Mexico Behavioral Health Institute — spent more money that it had earned the previous fiscal year, which ended June 30, Jones stated.
In response, the state cut the hospital’s budget authority by $5 million; the budget is about $58million total, officials said.
“This significant reduction in our budget has led to close oversight in spending,” Jones stated in the memo.
However, Jones said today that state officials decided after a review of the hospital’s operations to restore $3 million of the lost budget authority. He said he’s optimistic that the hospital will get the remaining $2 million as well.
In the Sept. 30 memo, Jones told employees that the hospital has operated on a flat budget for the last dozen years. Increases in costs have been covered by revenues generated by the hospital, Jones wrote.
Jones said in the memo that Alfredo Vigil, secretary of the state Health Department, is planning to request an increase in the hospital’s budget at next year’s legislative session, which begins in January.
“I am asking staff to be diligent in their conservation of resources utilized at all facilities during this difficult time,” stated Jones, who took the hospital’s helm in the summer. “Your efforts in reducing costs for the agency are essential and critical to our success. Rest assured that purchases for direct patient care and indirect patient care will be approved to assure no disruption in services.”
In an interview, Jones said he wanted to be candid with employees about the financial situation.
“I told everyone I was going to be open, so I sent the memo to let everyone know we will have to conserve resources,” he said.
But he said the state has no plans to reduce the hospital’s workforce.
“That won’t happen on my watch,” Jones said.
With 930 employees, the hospital is Las Vegas’ largest employer. The hospital is authorized for 1,025 positions — with a vacancy rate of 9.3 percent. That’s down from 13.2 percent in 2006.
Jones said he wants to remain positive about the hospital’s future. He noted that the state is planning the expansion of the hospital’s forensics unit.
“We’re going to make it. We have the support,” he said.