Pandemic Made 2020 a Fiscal Challenge

A surge of patients battling the COVID-19 virus, along with an extended absence of patients who avoided hospital care or delayed necessary procedures, combined to make 2020 one of the most challenging years ever for NorthBay Healthcare.

What was planned to be a year of significant growth in patient care services turned into a yearlong effort to persuade patients to get medical services they were postponing or forgoing, including urgent and emergency care. The budgeted revenue shortfall in patient care revenue exceeded $80.3 million.

The total financial impact of the pandemic on the health system was estimated to be $40.7 million. That comprised the cost of additional personal protective equipment ($6.2 million), overtime and labor expense ($13.4 million) and a year-over-year loss of income ($21.1 million) because many patients chose not to undergo planned or needed elective surgeries and procedures, and/or had those services delayed because the two NorthBay hospitals were planning and anticipating a surge.

According to the audited financial report for 2020, NorthBay experienced a gain of $14.4 million from operations compared to a $37.3 million gain in 2019, a 63 percent decrease.

Receipt of federal relief aid from the CARES Act and from FEMA totaled just over $40.2 million. Regardless, net income declined 52% from the prior year.

“Without the federal assistance, our health system would have been in a financial predicament going into 2021,” noted President and CEO B. Konard Jones. “The one-time federal payments left us with some net income for the year, but our challenge in 2021 will be to adjust to a much different financial landscape, some of which continues to be impacted by COVID-19.”

“Our work during the year was to reduce expenses to maximize staffing efficiencies and reduce every discretionary dollar we could find,” Jones explained. “Our workforce made extraordinary sacrifices – reductions in vacation accrual, suspension of retirement contributions and going without an annual wage adjustment. Their contribution to our financial recovery cannot be understated.”

“Every dollar of net income goes back into the local health system to care for this community,” Jones noted. “We will continue to be the county’s only community-based, not-for-profit health care provider. Maintaining our independence is imperative so local residents have a choice, not a monopoly.”