Erlanger Health System officials are budgeting for a $10.8 million profit this year - a more "aggressive" budget than what officials aimed for last year, when the hospital budgeted for a deficit for the first time.
The budget, which the entire Erlanger board will vote on this Thursday, includes $8 million to put towards a new orthopedic speciality surgery wing, a $2.7 million MRI machine, and nearly $3 million in upgrades to the hospital's cardiac services - part of a revamped strategy to capture more of Chattanooga's heart care market.
The confidence boost between now this time last year, said Erlanger Chief Financial Officer Britt Tabor, comes largely from savings initiatives put in place over a year - which included outsourcing food services, getting on a new pharmacy plan to lower the cost of drugs, and moving employees off the hospital's pension plan and into new retirement accounts.
The hospital also secured access to a new pool of federal funding that is expected to bring $18.8 million to the hospital next year.
Many of those initiatives will begin to show fruit this year, said Tabor.