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Grande Ronde Hospital, La Grande, lost about $3.9 million in the first quarter of 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a financial report from the Oregon Health Authority. The hospital announced Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, it was longer needs to operate its internal incident command system to deal with the pandemic.

LA GRANDE — Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics in La Grande lost about $3.9 million in the first quarter, according to the Oregon Health Authority’s hospital financial data.

The fiscal information gives an idea of how local hospitals were doing just as the pandemic hit. Grande Ronde Hospital and St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City both saw revenue drop in the first quarter, while Wallowa Memorial Hospital, Enterprise, made about $900,000.

Grande Ronde Hospital

Grande Ronde Hospital reported a total revenue nearing $24.2 million in the first quarter of 2020. In that time the hospital’s operating expenses were about $28.1 million. The previous quarter, at the end of 2019, its revenue was around $30 million and expenses were around $28 million.

“Earlier this spring, we shared the good news that Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics was on solid financial footing,” hospital spokesperson Mardi Ford said. “That is still the case. Although it’s hard to read headlines that rural hospitals across the nation already vulnerable to closure may not survive this pandemic, GRH is not in that same situation.”

She said years of financial stewardship and loyal community support enabled the hospital to enter the COVID-19 crisis in a strong position.

“That doesn’t mean we are immune to the financial impacts of the pandemic,” Ford continued, “but the reality is that it is not uncommon to see seasonal fluctuations in revenue in any given year. However, even with all we have had on our plate this year, we continue to have an optimistic outlook as we execute upon a strong strategic business plan.”

St. Alphonsus Medical Center

The Baker City hospital reported almost $7.6 million in revenue and more than $9.3 million in expenses for the first quarter, putting the hospital in the red along with Grande Ronde Hospital. St. Alphonsus Medical Center reported ending 2019 with more than $9.4 million in expenses while bringing in almost $9.3 million. Prior to the fourth quarter of 2019 the hospital was operating in the black, with more money coming in than going out.

Mark Snider, spokesman for St. Alphonsus Medical Center, said the lack of revenue and increase in expenses is due to the pandemic, and the hospital has made changes to help resolve the discrepancy.

“Naturally this is going to happen in a pandemic,” Snider said. “Other hospitals in Oregon, and across the nation I would guess, are facing this. But we are taking steps by reevaluating staffing needs.”

Snider said the hospital has furloughed some employees and moved others to different departments. He said the hospital also is looking at its processes and procedures to see if there are other ways to decrease expenses.

“We are in the midst of a global pandemic, but we are starting to rebound,” Snider said.

Wallowa Memorial Hospital

Wallowa Memorial Hospital is the only one of the hospitals in Union, Baker and Wallowa counties to be operating in the black.

The Enterprise hospital reported almost $7.1 million in revenue while spending about $6.3 million. It was in a similar situation in at the end of 2019, with around $575,000 left after covering expenses.

Wallowa Memorial Hospital did not return a request for comment by deadline.

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