New UAMS Chancellor Attempts to End Losses

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 12:00 am  

Dr. Daniel Rahn says UAMS has "to operate within available resources, and in the recent past we have had expenses outstripping revenue in a number of arenas."

The emergency department also had been expanded to 31 private exam rooms and three trauma rooms.

Also in December 2008, the six-story, 110,000-SF, $32 million Psychiatric Research Institute opened.

'Hard to Swallow'
Goodhand said last week that UAMS had braced itself for an operating loss because of the additions to the campus.

"It's not unusual to have an operating loss the year you build, equip and hire a staff for a new hospital," she said. "We planned for ... those extra expenses. That's why we had built up our reserves in order to cover that."

But not even UAMS could project how bad the economy would become.

The fiscal 2009 investment losses of $14.6 million weren't expected, Goodhand said. Its investments had earned $10 million in the previous fiscal year. 

Also, the state's subsidy to UAMS fell from $45.8 million in fiscal 2008 to $44.4 million last year, and a cut of $2.2 million in the current fiscal year was part of the $100 million in budget reductions ordered by Gov. Mike Beebe.

UAMS also projected that the Psychiatric Research Institute would have a $1.8 million loss for fiscal '09. Instead, its loss was $2.7 million, according to the financial statement.

Although the financial statement breaks out the Psychiatric Research Institute's loss and Rahn was able to pinpoint the monthly loss at UAMS Medical Center, Goodhand told Arkansas Business that there was no way to tell exactly where all the net losses are coming from.

And that lack of financial detail has been a point of frustration for Dr. Carl Johnson of Little Rock, a member of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees.

"To have a corporation as big as UAMS and you cannot tell where your money's coming from, or where you're losing money, is a little bit odd," Johnson said. "That's hard for me to swallow."

Rahn said he was looking "right now" at trying to improve the financial accounting of the campus. 



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