Erlanger Health System prepared to usher in a new era at its board of trustees meetings this week.
For the first time in Erlanger history, the hospital's chief financial officer presented a more than $1 billion budget proposal at Monday's budget and finance committee meeting.
New trustee Steve Angle, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, attended his first board meeting Thursday, and trustee Jennifer Stanley bid the board farewell after more than eight years of service.
She said her first goal as a board member was to help get Erlanger "back on stable financial footing."
"My next goal was, in the back of my mind, what could we be if we were a billion-dollar hospital organization? What could we do for the citizens of this community?" Stanley said. "We're there now."
Erlanger management is projecting net revenue of $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, with a budget surplus of $15.5 million — three times greater than the budgeted bottom line of $5 million in 2018.
Chief Financial Officer Britt Tabor said Monday it's a "very challenging" proposal, but he's proud of the hospital's growth and accomplishments.
"With this percent of volume and growth, we have to deliver," he said.
Themes for the new budget are continued growth, capital investment based on the strategic plan, further investment in associates and an increased emphasis on quality, according to the proposal.
Tabor also projected a record-high $120 million in uncompensated care costs for Erlanger in 2019. The current fiscal year's uncompensated care costs were projected to be just over $110 million.
For the next month, board members will review the budget before presenting their recommendation in June.
"It is pretty comprehensive, so it is going to take the board members a full month to get up to speed," CEO Kevin Spiegel said during his report.
Also at Thursday's meeting, the nursing staff of 2,300 was commended for having the lowest turnover rate in recent history, Spiegel said.
In addition, the board passed a resolution amending the hospital authority's bylaws to revise the mission, vision and values statement, changing the composition of the retirement subcommittee and removing the joint conference and accreditation committee, which oversees the medical staff. Those duties now will belong to the medical executive committee.
Jeff Woodard, chief legal officer for Erlanger, said most institutions do not have that added layer of bureaucracy, so removing the committee will eliminate unnecessary meetings.
Contact staff writer Elizabeth Fite at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6673.