MIAMI, FL – St. Mary’s Regional Hospital patients and staff were treated to a wonderful sight as they walked into the hospital Tuesday morning. A red 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia glistened in the parking spot reserved for President Douglas Samuelson. The new acquisition, secured a day prior to the end of the fiscal year, allowed the St. Mary’s Hospital System to continue operating as a non-profit health care institution.
“We are simply delighted to continue operating as a not-for-profit hospital and care for the patients in our community,” remarked Samuelson. “The hospital’s board, and their creative solution to our financial problem, is to be commended!”
For the second year in a row, the hospital reported record profits as a result of streamlining laboratory and radiology processes, re-negotiating insurance contracts, raising parking fees and cafeteria prices, freezing doctors’ salaries, and utilizing more volunteers instead of paid employees for various hospital tasks (e.g. meal delivery and transport).
Six days prior to the end of the fiscal year, the accounting office notified the president that the hospital was $274,695 over a threshold that would have triggered a review of the non-profit status, and likely would have led to its reclassification as a for-profit institution.
“The tax consequences would have been enormous if the status had changed, and would have led to massive layoffs, deep salary cuts, and possibly even the closing of our beloved SMRH,” noted William Curton, the hospital CFO. “We re-evaluated the divisions’ budget proposals, and consequently recognized the need for vehicles to assist with our hospital’s transportation needs. At that point, the decision whether or not to purchase the vehicles became clear.”
“Sure, we could have purchased the 8 minivans requested to shuttle doctors, physician extenders, and affiliated staff to the off-campus lots, but since our parking spaces are already at a premium, we didn’t want to restrict access to our valued community by having the vans taking up the extra spaces when not in use. One vehicle would suffice. The MSRP was $265,999, so I had the dealer monogram my initials into the seats and steering wheel and throw in life-time vehicle detailing for the extra $9k,” said Samuelson. “The hospital got a tremendous deal, much better than the price we paid for last year’s yellow 2014 model.”
Since the Ferrari, with jet black interior, a 4.5 L V-8 beast of an engine putting out 562 horsepower, a top speed of 201 mph and 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, premium sound and upgraded suspension, is owned by the hospital, all employees with privileges to drive courtesy vehicles may use the car. “They can have the keys, certainly. There may be a problem with getting into the car, however. The car came with the ‘secure fingerprint entry feature,’ and as of now the car only recognizes me. I’m sure we will work out this technicality in due time,” says Samuelson.
For another year, the hospital will operate as a non-profit thanks to the courageous decisions from the board. The car will serve as a perennial source of pride as patients and employees walk past it. As such, Samuelson has hired two full-time security guards to protect the symbol of the hospital’s mission of healing.
“Letting fourteen CNA’s go in order to hire the security detail was difficult, but I’m sure they understand.”