Johnson Memorial president and CEO addresses public concerns
By Wally Robinson - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Fri., Feb. 4, 2011
STAFFORD - With their financial woes now behind them after emerging from bankruptcy last year, Johnson Memorial Medical Center officials made themselves available at a pair of open meetings in Enfield and Stafford in recent weeks to answer any questions the general public might now have.
“We’re a community-based health organization, and as such, we felt it was incumbent on us to bring that community up to speed on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going,” said JMMC President and CEO Peter J. Betts at the Jan. 24 meeting in Stafford. “I’m hopeful that the light turnout at both meetings is an indication of confidence in us.”
The JMMC has undergone a major corporate overhaul since entering bankruptcy in November of 2008. “We came out of bankruptcy in September of 2010 after a major reorganization of our corporate structure and a series of negotiations with our creditors,” Betts said. “At one time, we had nine different corporate entities here with five separate boards of directors. We now have just three entities – the hospital, Evergreen Nursing Home and our Home and Community Care Program – and just one board of directors. The board itself has been streamlined, too. In the past, there were 60 members with an executive committee of 12. The new board will have just nine to 13 members with term limits of six years.”
Getting the financial house in order was a far tougher task. “We were able to put together a five-year plan to deal with our creditors,” Betts said. “One of the things that happens when an organization is in a tough time is the selling off of equipment to raise cash and then leasing the equipment back. There were 114 such leases we had to deal with. In some cases, we were able buy them out at a reduced price, and in others, we either got a reduction in price or an extension in time to spread out the costs.”
The good news from JMMC is that the organization can now move forward with a new strategic plan in place. “I give enormous credit to the staff here who stuck with us during this incredibly trying period. The doctors, nurses and other highly-trained personnel especially, who could have bailed out, but chose not to. We simply would not have survived this crisis without that support.”