Hospital CEO takes pay cut

Other employees are seeing a wage increase freezes.

Martha's Vineyard Hospital CEO Denise Schepici took a salary cut, along with other executives, to help with financial losses. - MVT File photo by Gabrielle Mannino

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s parent company, Mass General Brigham (MGB), formerly Partners Healthcare, is cutting executive pay and benefits to prepare for a projected $2 billion in losses.

Speaking to reporters Thursday night, hospital CEO Denise Schepici said executive-level positions across MGB had their salaries cut 5 to 25 percent. Schepici will receive a 25 percent reduction, according to hospital spokesperson Katrina Delgadillo. Delgadillo declined to provide Schepici’s annual salary.

While the pay cuts only affect MGB executives, a 12-month wage freeze will be placed on all staff, executive and nonexecutive, clinical and nonclinical, earning more than $55,000 per year. Employees earning less than $55,000 per year will be excluded from the wage freeze, and will receive a special 403(b) contribution.

The hospital continues to open up more elective procedures, which will bring back much-needed revenue. Last week, Schepici told reporters that the hospital has been losing about $750,000 a week, totaling almost $8 million, since it closed down its elective procedures back in March.

With the help of unsolicited donations and CARES Act funding, the hospital has been able to offset some of those losses. The hospital did receive $16 million in advance Medicare payments, which Schepici said needs to start being repaid in August. She hopes it will be forgiven.

“We’re lobbying hard that those loans should be forgiven for Massachuestts hospitals. We had to bear the cost of being ready, we didn’t lay people off, we kept things going here, not knowing what would happen,” Schepici said. “That’s revenue that was lost during that time, we’re not getting it back.”

This all comes as the hospital is seeing an increase in activity compared to the past few months, as more elective procedures are becoming available. Outpatient operating room cases, ambulatory preventive-care visits, primary care, orthopedic care, surgical visits, women’s health, MRI and CT diagnostics, and podiatry have all seen increases in activity as of late.

Chief nursing and operating officer Claire Seguin said there are available beds for patients as the hospital monitors cases on the Island.

“We look at ICU capacity across the system, and the threshold from the governor is 70 percent, and we are well within that,” Seguin said.

Antibody testing is also being conducted at the hospital for patients, but only for those who meet specific criteria. Antibody tests are only recently being tracked by the Department of Public Health.

Patients are not able to request an antibody test at the hospital. Instead, doctors and nurses are conducting regular viral tests, and only performing antibody tests if that person was negative on the viral test and showing COVID-19 symptoms.

Visitors are being welcomed back at the hospital, but in a limited capacity and at the discretion of the patient’s care providers. Patients with no COVID-19 symptoms are allowed one healthy visitor over the age of 18. Visiting hours are from 1 pm to 8 pm.

Visitors will be asked about any symptoms they are experiencing related to COVID-19, as well as being asked to wear a mask. Those without masks will be provided one.

Rules for Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center are slightly more strict. Visitors are allowed at the nursing home, but must be supervised by a staff member, must be six feet apart, and visit outside. “We’re much stricter in the nursing home, for obvious reasons,” Schepici said.

Speaking on the increase in visitors to the Island, Schepici said she was “disappointed” to see photos of the Oak Bluffs Harbor last weekend with people crowding in the downtown area, not social distancing and not wearing masks.

Town leaders met earlier this week to develop action plans such as a stronger police presence and larger signage.

“Masks and social distancing are the only way we’re going to get through this pandemic and keep the curve flat,” she said. “You would hope that people would just have some common courtesy and common sense, and not leave it over in Woods Hole when they come to visit us.”

She also said visitors should follow state and local guidelines. “I urge visitors, please show some compassion and respect for the Island community that you come here to enjoy, to keep everybody safe including yourself,” Schepici said. “A mask will protect.”

In other news, the hospital’s annual forum, which is usually held in June, will happen this year, but most likely virtually and later in the season, Schepici said.

On Friday, the hospital’s number of confirmed cases remained at 28. A total of 1,329 patients have been tested at the hospital. Of those, 1,269 have tested negative, and 32 are pending results. There are zero coronavirus hospitalizations at the hospital, but three patients with COVID-related symptoms have been transferred off-Island.

 

23 COMMENTS

  1. I would say, in retrospect, that it was not a good decision to close down elective procedures for three months.
    Neither the state nor the federal governments have the money to pay off these enormous debts. Nor does Medicare or Medicaid.

    • I would say, in response, think again. Exposing an even larger number of health care providers and staffers to potentially infected and contagious patients for sub-acute, non-emergent procedures would have been fooli$h at best. Like you, we have families who would have also been placed at risk.

  2. That’s the fundamental issue with closing the economy. At some point the bridge the various stimulus packages passed runs out. Whether private businesses or government agencies, unless the economy is open, hard decisions will need to be made that will exacerbate unemployment.

  3. Hospital lost millions due to their inability to identify this scamdemic. We’ll be paying for this nonsense for years.

    • Are you saying 450,000 people haven’t died from this? Who is behind the scam and how did they get so many countries to go along with it, damaging their own economies and populations? I don’t think you will give a direct answer. You never answer when presented facts or questions. You just post lies and dip out.

      • Aquinnah, respectfully 112000 dead in the USA divided by 330 million is .000339 percent. And how many of those would have died anyway if 82 percent of corona deaths are over the age of 65 and 80 is the median. They are also counting Pneumonia deaths as Corona. We never get the truth. I see a 35 year old walking in the forest by himself with a mask on. Craziness. We should isolate the most vulnerable, let kids back to school–they never get it, and open up restaurants with spacing and practice prudent distancing. Shutting down the economy can kill and create manifest despair and misery for many and already has.

        • Check you math. 112000 is 0.0339 percent, not 0.000339. (Unfortunately, the numbers of Americans who died from COVID-19 as this posting is 119,475. )
          “let kids back to school–they never get it,” Maybe the most callous remark made by The Gambler. Florida alone has reported 3,407 pediatric COVID-19 cases since March. (1) The treatment of severe and critical cases of pediatric patients with COVID-19 in the hospital may include management of pneumonia, respiratory failure, exacerbation of underlying conditions, sepsis or septic shock, or secondary bacterial infection.(2) A lot for a child, no?

          (1) (https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2020/06/12/florida-reports-3407-pediatric-covid-19-cases-since-march/)

          (2)https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/pediatric-hcp.html

          • Bulkington you please check your math. I am correct. 112000 deaths divided by 330 million people in the usa is .000339. And if you want 119000 cases divided by 330million it is .00036 percent. Kids under 20 are half as likely to get it as people over 20. and 82 percent of people who get it are over 65 with a median of 80. You do your own math.

          • (The Gambler who doesn’t pay his debt when he loses the bet.)

            I don’t know why the Times allows false information about this virus from people like BS and Andrew. It’s one thing to have an opinion, but it’s something else to spread lies about the facts and the seriousness of this illness to all ages.

            Also, Andrew, if you saw a 35 year old walking in the woods, he was not alone. You were there. His respect for you, an old man, by wearing his mask even if you were more than 6 feet away, shows his character, while you calling his concern for you, “crazy”, shows your character. Droplets carry in the air for up to 20 feet. Stop spreading incorrect information (AKA, lies). Put your mask on when you see other people outdoors.

        • “We never get the truth”
          I’d have to agree with you one this one Andrew.
          We’re all still waiting for you to post something truthful.

          • These people would not have died anyway. The U.S. has been tracking fatalities for decades and has a firm grasp on what to expect throughout the year. This year, there has been a sharp increase that falls perfectly in line with the timing of coronavirus. Couple those grim spikes with symptomatic presentation and testing, and I don’t think we need to wonder what happened. Even after adjusting for deaths that may indirectly correspond to the pandemic, meaning those who were afraid or unable to seek treatment for non-COVID conditions, the count is still higher than normal for the season. Yale has studied this. There is also evidence that some U.S. COVID-19 fatalities have slipped through the cracks and are not represented in the tally. On a global level, there have been mass graves and open pyres due to funeral services being overwhelmed. For that, I have seen no alternative explanations offered.

            The lockdown has absolutely done damage and is not sustainable. That doesn’t mean coronavirus is a false flag. It simply means life is unkind and we have a variety of problems to balance at once. The hospitalizations and deaths would be worse without our efforts. Personally, I find them alarming as is. You cannot use stats collected during a droplet-suppressing lockdown to prove that coronavirus is a minor — or a fake — threat. That’s a formal fallacy. Those numbers are artificial in a sense. They tell you how many people we lost while changing everything about our lifestyles, not what corona is capable of if left unchecked. Trump had his supporters sign a waiver for a reason. Scams do not require waivers. If every American would finally accept that and behave accordingly, we could save more people and businesses. We have been given the gift of actionable information. Refusing to wear a mask or social distance will prolong all manner of suffering, including economic, so err on the side of caution.

            My posts are redundant. Will bow out.

          • Please don’t bow out, Aquinnah. You intelligence and calm are needed. Repeated lies, contradictions, and half-truths are what we get from the top in this world of “alternative facts”. It spreads via Fox and demented cult religions and trickles down to what we’re getting here. It’s up to truth tellers to repeat the truth, as often as necessary. As long as there publicly appears false information about the seriousness of this virus, there has to be a rational telling of reality, not the cock and bull stories we get from deniers and people of low character who lie as easily as they breathe. I don’t know why the Times allows lies about this virus, I just don’t know. I do know the community needs you, as tiresome as it is to repeat the information.

          • Thanks so much, Jackie. I really appreciate that, especially this week. 🙏🏻 Between racism and corona, or rather the reaction to corona, I’ve been pretty depressed and lost in thought. Have written several posts and canned them, finding it hard to explain things. Feeling frustrated that this stuff still has to be said. But it does, and I will try to chime in. 🙂

            I would give anything for people to understand that science is a search for the truth, not for manipulated info to back up their biases, and that the reason we prioritize truth is so we can apply it for everyone’s betterment. Some feel oppressed by measures that can actually help us to thrive (relatively, anyway) during tough times. That’s a bleak way to look at our options. Yet they call us the doom & gloom crowd? Sad. There is nothing freeing about being hospitalized or dead, unless one didn’t enjoy life. A hundred years ago, I bet Americans would’ve given anything to have the scientific info and connectivity that we do to tackle a pandemic. And some want to squander it because a person who cannot distinguish between how to treat lung tissue and how to clean a countertop has decided not to wear a mask. Ugh.

  4. I find it heinous that any hospital, especially a sole hospital on an island, needs to “make money” in order to continue to provide healthcare for the community. Our priorities are so unbelievably screwed.

    • You do understand the hospital is a business, right? They have very expensive equipment, infrastructure and employee salaries. Losing $3 million a month is not sustainable. That being said they do accept donations so I’m sure your check is in the mail.

      • Yeah dude, my point was that healthcare should not be a business. Whether island residents live or die should not come down to bottom-line considerations. It should be accepted as a public necessity much like schooling, police & fire are. Thanks for the heads up, by the way, I just donated $100. Care to match me?

      • BS, “The mission of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is to safeguard the health of island residents and visitors by providing and arranging high-quality, accessible medical care. This care will be provided to all, regardless of ability to pay, in an atmosphere that fosters equity, respect and compassion.” So, though I sincerely hope it nevers happens that you or somene you know suddenly develops shortness of breath accompanied by crushing chest pain, you would get to MVH quickly. If you are fortunate enough to make it there within a six-minute window after cardiac arrest, know for a certainty that of all the efforts made to save your life, the one thing the ER personell would not do is give you a hard time.

    • “Making money” is not the same as making a profit. Some of the services the hospital provides are not reimbursed by insurance or Medicaid/Medicare, yet they provide them. Our highly trained nurses, technicians, housekeeping, physician assistants, physicians, and dedicated administrative staff need to be paid for the jobs they do. The costs associated with diagnostic tests and services like kidney dialysis are high. Hospitals need to “make money” to remain ready to serve our community, and anyone in our community, day after day. There is a lot of room for improvement in our health care system, but look first to the insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies that operate on a for-profit basis before denigrating our local hospital.

      • Ms. Norton, I truly apologize if you thought my message was denigrating the hospital or any of its staff. You’re absolutely right that a lot of these problems fall from insurances, manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies. I didn’t at all mean to imply that the hospital was a grift that held our livelihoods at stake for extra payment. All I meant was that it shouldn’t be this way. That we need to come together as an island community and beyond to demand better of our current healthcare system, and that includes how third-party pricing affects it. Thank you for everything you do, sincerely.

  5. I thought the hospital was non profit and they didn’t pay taxes? That should help with their budget. If I didn’t have to pay taxes….wow, I would be ahead of the game!
    Also, if they would have continued to see patients that would have helped too. I mean if masks and washing your hands will keep you safe, why couldn’t we do that during the shutdown?
    Each doctors room has a sink.

  6. @ Andrew — Your math is incorrect. “Per cent” means per every 100. Accordingly, you need to move your decimal point two places, as Bulkington has correctly done.

  7. its noble in some way but we can all see now she crumbled under the pressure from locals crying to shut the entire island down including the ferry. with no deaths and a minuscule amount of positive cases (and this island has been packed for a month) we can see as much as we want to protect, we hurt our locals, businesses and hospital. btw she gets paid a fortune.

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