CEO Corner: It’s Not Just You–Everyone is Having a Bad Year
Alice Ayres, MBA
Nearly every conversation I have with members turns eventually to the incredibly difficult financial situation all healthcare providers are facing in this calendar year. In fact, Kauffman Hall just released a report that is making headlines which shows that this will be the worst year of the pandemic for US hospitals. Revenue is down partly because more procedures are being done in the ambulatory setting, and partly because we are seeing higher acuity patients with longer lengths of stay when they are in the inpatient setting. Expenses are up thanks to increases in costs for staffing, prescription drugs, and even supplies. And all of that is going on without any further appetite from Congress for additional dollars to support hospitals. The net means that everywhere you turn there are headlines about giant losses year over year, staff lay-offs, and budget cutting. It is difficult to believe we are here again, and yet, here we are.
What does this mean for philanthropy? Well, first it means that the revenue coming from charitable giving is even more important than ever. When you look at it from a revenue equivalency perspective, a single extra dollar in charitable giving can mean an offset of between $75 and $100 in lost gross patient revenue on average (and more in many cases now that we are seeing such a spike in expenses). Second, it means that you should continue to make the case to your financial team to see you as a profit center (a revenue producer) rather than a cost center. When the organization mandates cuts, think about whether you can increase your goals rather than cutting headcount. As an example, we all know that it takes 18 months for a major gift officer to ramp in. The median MGO salary, as determined by early data from our upcoming salary survey is $95K. So if you can increase your goals by that much, you might be able to keep the MGO and continue the relationships with donors rather than having to restart the process once the financial situation improves, which will cost you 18+ months of revenue and productivity.
In all cases, it means that the work each of you does every day is even more critical than ever. Your contribution to the bottom line is vital to ensuring healthcare is delivered to our communities, and your work connecting community to mission and vision will ensure this is true for many many years to come.
Looking for more resources to share with your c-suite partners about the financial, community and individual benefits of philanthropy? Check out our “Conversations with the C-Suite” page in our newly launched OnDemand Learning Hub.