St. Thomas–Members of the Committee on Finance, chaired by Sen. Marvin Blyden on behalf of Sen. Kurt Vialet, convened in a meeting at the Capitol Building on Thursday, to receive testimony on the proposed FY 2020 Executive Budget for the Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC), the St. Thomas East End Medical Center, Corp. (STEEMCC), and the Virgin Islands Lottery (VIL).
The Schneider Regional Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bernard Wheatley stated that the FY 2020 Budget is $22 million. This is an operational loss of $7.6 million. However, he is a requesting an additional $6 million totaling $28 million; along with a line item amount of $10 million for capital expenses. Wheatley mentioned that for FY 2020 the overall projected expense totals $80.2 million. In comparison to FY 2019, this is an increase of $3.3 million. Some of the long-term initiatives are upgrading the IT system, onsite oxygen generation, installing energy efficiency with new construction, and decreasing maintenance costs.
Financial assistance from the Government of the Virgin Islands is required to fund key financial priorities totaling $12,614,000, according to Wheatley. The breakdown is as follows: $3 million for GERS enrollment of SRMC employees, $2,752,000 for negotiated union contracts/salary increases, $2,125,000 for the Meditech Software Expanse, $597,000 for a CT scanner, $150,000 for C-Arm equipment operating room, $440,000 for radiographic equipment, $900,000 for heart catheterization/Interventional lab equipment, $2,500,000 radiation oncology equipment, and $150,000 for urology equipment.
Regarding SRMC’s debt, Wheatley mentioned that SRMC has reduced its debt by $18.5 million from FY 2017 to FY 2019, and as of June 30, 2019, there are trade accounts payable debt totaling $24.6 million. Furthermore, the Intra-Agency outstanding debt to SRMC totals $7,038,761; and out of that $7,209,000 is from the Workman’s Compensation Program.
Separately, the governor’s recommended FY 2020 Executive Budget for the St. Thomas East End Medical Center is $1,900,000. However, STEEMCC Executive Director Moleto Smith, Jr. is asking for a higher amount. “We have requested $2,924,229 in funding for FY 2020 for the purpose of addressing the Medicaid Local Cost-share of forty-five percent, as well as to mitigate the millions of dollars of uncompensated care that we will continue to face in the coming year for primary health care services to individuals who are not covered by any type of public health or commercial insurance.” Thus far, only $560,199 was recouped out of $2,962,811 of projected charges for uncompensated care in 2019; the outstanding balance is $2,402,612.
The Virgin Islands Lottery (VIL) Executive Director Nominee Raymond Williams stated that the FY 2020 budget is $20,791,578. The budget breakdown is as follows: $8,453,434 for traditional games, $12,317,644 for compensation from contractors, $10,949,564 for VLT gaming revenue, $1,368,080 for online/scratch games, and $20,500,000 in other income. For FY 2020, Williams indicated VIL’s goals are to fill vacancies and to modernize operations and marking strategies. #