Friday, November 12, 2010

Millwood Ave Study materials from October 19th meeting

Information was shared on the MPO website.

Millwood Avenue Study Public Input Meeting - October 19th Meeting Materials:
-  Aerial

Millwood Avenue Study Public Input Meeting -September 20th at 6 p.m. Meeting Materials:

Monday, October 25, 2010

The 5 projects listed on the MOU between "SU and City"

The five projects that were made public back on November 6, 2009 are the following:
·        Creating a new entrance to Winchester and Shenandoah University from Millwood Avenue.

·        Examining the tennis and basketball courts in the city park to improve usage and safety for the university and city residents.

·        Renovating and programming for the amphitheater in the park.

·        Examining and improving traffic flow around Jubal Early Drive and Millwood Avenue.

·        Creating housing, classrooms, and/or performance spaces in the downtown area. 

The two articles were in print on November 6th and 13th of 2009 in the Winchester Star.

Building benefits
City, SU to cooperate on renovation projects

Council to honor FOIA regulations
Aug. 18 closed session violated meeting rules

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

WMC had a profit total of $311.7 million for years 2000-2008

Just discovered this website:, that had profit figures that were documented for years 2000-2004 as the Winchester Medical Center had a 9yr profit total of $311.7 million during years 2000-2008.

2000 $11,917,127
2001 $4,262,944
2002 $25,868,766
2003 $35,113,921
2004 $46,711,931
2005 $54,346,679
(per IRS990 &
2006 $57,422,789
(per IRS990 &
2007 $66,617,961
(per IRS990 &
2008 $9,500,911
(per IRS990 &
2009 N/A

Total: $311,763,029
Winchester Medical Center's profits 2000-2008

To download a 11x17 PDF file of this information on the Winchester Medical Center, click of the following document: Winchester Medical Center financials

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Handbook of The Winchester Public Schools (The Handley Schools)

History on the only endowed public school system in the United States, the John Handley Foundation.

A Handbook of The Winchester Public Schools (The Handley Schools)

(Judge Handley also left money that constructed the Frederick Douglass school which this author did not share)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No pay increases for Nurses/staff at WMC since 2007?

According to sources inside the Winchester Medical Center, nurses/staff have not received a "cost of living increase" since 2007. 

There is some conflicting information whether or not the nurses/staff were promised a pay increase after meeting the Magnet Designation announced back on September 16, 2008 and more recently, another pay increase for the nurses/staff meeting the American Hospital Association requirements.

The perception is that due to the lack of pay increases is the reason why some nurses who reside in Winchester and Frederick County are leaving the WMC and going across the mountain for better pay.

For the record, The Pub has advocated that the nurses and blue collar workers are under compensated.  Reference this link dated October 14, 2009 ...

The “Winchester Medical Center” has been very profitable for years 2000-2008:
2000 $11,917,127
2001 $4,262,944
2002 $25,868,766
2003 $35,113,921
2004 $46,711,931
2005 $54,346,679
(per IRS990 &
2006 $57,422,789
(per IRS990 &
2007 $66,617,961
(per IRS990 &
2008 $9,500,911
(per IRS990 &
2009 N/A

Maybe the short comings in WMC’s profits in 2008 led to the Valley Health officials in not giving a "cost of living" pay increases for the nurses/staff.  Based on these figures above, it's the only thing that seems logical.

But for some WMC and VHS executives, they still received some type of pay increase from 2007 to 2008 and most notable, the former CEO/PRES compensation package increases.
Valley Health System's Top Salaries and Top Contractors

For the record, there has been no rebuttal featured in the Winchester Star toward Mrs. Luttrell's commentary since it appeared in print on January 17, 2009.

Short of nurses

I am writing this letter concerning the Jan. 10 article in The Star headlined “Nonprofit paradox.” I understand the “pie” Valley Health community benefit. I understand the hospital is a nonprofit hospital. But the
Winchester Medical Center is very short of nurses.

Several times when my husband has been a patient, I overhear in the hallways, “We are short this shift.” There has been one nurse at a time on a floor to handle 12 rooms. That is one reason, as a care-giver, I stay 24/7.

The point I am getting to is the CEO and administrators whose salaries were posted in the paper could take a lesser pay and see that the money goes to the nursing income. This would make it more inviting to the nursing community to nurse there.

I know of several nurses who are leaving the area because of the pay. These people who get these big salaries have only a medical back ground in books. They are not like the nurses who take care of patients to see they are well. They are short-paid!

I think this “nonprofit” hospital needs to reline its incomes to help the community get more nurses and pay them well enough to want to stay here.

I am not saying my husband did not get good care, because he did. But I was with him 24/7 during his stay. I welcome any response to this letter. If I am wrong, please do not hesitate to answer.

January 17, 2009
Winchester Star's Letter to Editor

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breaking down VHS's 2008 Community Benefit figure of $58,349,282

Does the majority of the local citizenry even understand the meaning of this huge "community benefit" number?

To get a better understanding how the Valley Health System's 2008 $58,349,282 regional community benefit was derived, the following Schedule H's for WMC, Hampshire Mem'l and Warren Mem'l Hospitals will help to break it down per hospital.

Warren Memorial Hospital, 2008 Schedule H Community Benefit breakdown 

Hampshire Memorial Hospital, 2008 Schedule H 

Winchester Medical Center, 2008 Schedule H

Valley Health's 2009 Community Benefit Report

The 2009 Community Benefit report featured in the Winchester Star did not have a line that read "Excess of Revenue over Expenses (Profit)".  Valley Health Systems profits for 2004-2007 were as follows: $42,613,000; $53,800,000; $59,432,000; $62,803,000 and a loss of $42,000 in 2008.  Valley Health Systems had a five year profit total of $218,606,000 from 2004-2008 per information shared by a VHS official in December of 2009.

The perception is that VHS is taking huge profits made locally in Winchester and spending on an average of $30-35million for new hospitals in Page County, Romney, WV and Berkeley Springs, WV while previously enjoying the tax break perks from the City of Winchester.  Is this fair to the local taxpayers?

Will these much smaller regional hospitals just become medical bus stops for the Winchester Medical Center campus?

Please note ... Page Mem'l and Shenandoah Mem'l IRS990 did not provide a Schedule H in 2008.  The Winchester Surgi-Center was not part of VHS until March 1, 2010.  The 2009 IRS990's are not yet available to breakdown Valley Health's total community benefit of $71.3 million.

Valley Health's statement on the regional communities that it serves:

WMC provides a range of services for its communities which includes clinics and support programs.

All of these items give patients access to leading edge technology and state of the art service, and to experience high quality patient care that is close to where they live.

These activities are overseen by WMC's BOD's, comprised mainly of independent community members.

The population has increased from the previous year from 951,209 to 959,447 in 2008.

The female population for 2007 was 479,624 and the male population was 471,585 in 2007.

The population numbers for 2008 show that females increased to 483,523 and the male population increased to 475,924 for 2008.

The regional community that VH serves is widely diverse.  The regional community racial ethnic breakdown in the communities served by VH is as follows: 84.2% White, 4.8% Black, 1.7% Asian, 1.5% Multiracial, 1.2% other, 0.2% Native American and 3.3% Hispanic for 2008.

The total population per race or ethnicity increased significantly from 2007.  Give the general location of facilities, WMC serves several migrant worker communities during harvesting of crops for the local farmers.

There is also an aging population that WMC serves with several of its communities.  As the baby boomers grow older, more and more medical care will be needed and provided by WMC.

WVU-H East offers more than ‘bus stop’
September 27, 2009 - By Albert Pilkington III, president and CEO, WVU Hospitals-East, Martinsburg

Valley Health has spent a lot of money and time to develop a PR campaign aimed at discrediting our interest in providing health care for the citizens of Morgan County. Beyond all the rhetoric, I ask you to simply consider one basic concept. Do you want a hospital in Berkeley Springs or a medical bus stop for Valley Health?

Ultimately, that is the real question. Our approach will be the same as it has been in Jefferson County in that we believe in building and growing services within the community as opposed to the Valley Health model of using small hospitals as a feeding system for the big hospital in Winchester, Va.

If you are satisfied with driving to Winchester for the majority of your medical needs as if Berkeley Springs were a suburb of Winchester, then we are not your best choice. On the other hand, if you are interested in the development of your own unique community with services provided locally, then that is the approach we offer for health care.

Truly, beyond all the PR and rhetoric, this is the only real question at hand as both companies will give you a new building.

VHS hospitals profit/losses for 2006, 2007 and 2008

2006 2007 2008
Warren Mem'l 2,680,781 2,245,851 -1,222,867

Winchester Medical Center 57,422,678 66,617,963 9,500,911 133,541,552

Shenandoah Mem'l3,933,2301,933,1931,689,374

Valley Health (Corp. Mgmt)-7,559,599-9,210,808-9,725,512

Figures obtained via IRS990's

VHS purchased Page Memorial

effective 1/1/2009
433,956 331,956 -367,694

Thursday, September 30, 2010

WMC's exemption by classification position / Code of VA - 58.1 Taxation - Ch. 36 Tax Exempt Property

Mr. Merrill says, "We still feel firmly that we meet the exemption by classification and are eager to find out how the commissioner came to her conclusion that we do not meet that definition of exempt by classification. Once we have that information we then will look at what our options may be. An appeal or what other recourse we may have."


Code of Virginia - Title 58.1 Taxation - Chapter 36 Tax Exempt Property

58.1-3603 Exemptions not applicable when building is source of revenue

58.1-3605 Triennial application for exemption; removal by local governing body

58.1-3606 Property exempt from taxation by classification

58.1-3650 Post-1971 property exempt from taxation by designation

58.1-3651 Property exempt from taxation by classification or designation by ordinance adopted by local govern...

Nothing at the local level that qualifies WMC tax-exempt nor state level

After reviewing the Commissioner of the Revenue's report.  There is no formal exemption from local taxes by either designation or classification in the City of Winchester with regards to Winchester Medical Center nor at the state level.

The commonwealth has never had a "community benefit" standard in place for a not-for-profit hospital to abide by, but rather followed those previous 1969 broad and vague guidelines.

Federal Tax-Exemption Criteria for Nonprofit Hospitals:

IRS's community benefit standard to qualify for tax-exempt status allows nonprofit hospitals broad latitude to determine the services and activities that constitute community benefit. Furthermore, state community benefit requirements that hospitals must meet in order to qualify for state tax-exempt or nonprofit status vary substantially in scope and detail.

In the 1969 revenue ruling that established the community benefit standard, IRS recognized five factors that would support a nonprofit hospital's tax-exempt status. These five factors were :
(1) The operation of an emergency room open to all members of the community without regard to ability to pay

(2) A governance board composed of community members

(3) The use of surplus revenue for facilities improvement, patient care, and medical training, education, and research

(4) The provision of inpatient hospital care for all persons in the community able to pay, including those covered by Medicare and Medicaid

(5) An open medical staff with privileges available to all qualifying physicians.

IRS further stated that tax-exempt status would be determined based on the facts and circumstances of each case, and that neither the absence of particular factors set forth in the 1969 revenue ruling nor the presence of other factors would be necessarily conclusive. 

Nonprofit hospitals that qualify for tax-exempt status are exempt from federal income taxation, have access to bond financing that generates tax-free interest earnings for the bondholder--allowing these hospitals to borrow funds at a lower cost than nonexempt entities--and are eligible to receive contributions that are tax deductible for the donors.

In addition, these hospitals may also be exempt under state law from state and local income, property, and sales taxes, which in some cases are of a greater value than the federal income tax exemption.
(Information was obtained from The Government Accountability Office report on hospital community benefit, page 11 and 12 of actual report but page 16 and 17 of the PDF file).

Case Where State Law Superseded Federal Law

City of Richmond v. Richmond Memorial Hospital.
In City of Richmond v. Richmond Memorial Hospital, 202 Va. 86, 116 S.E. 2d 79 (1960), the issue was whether the right to exemption “depends solely upon the extent to which free service is rendered.” The court rejected that standard and concluded that the exemption depends not upon the number of patients who are treated free of charge, but upon the nature of the institutions and the purpose of the operations. The constitution of Virginia did not require that services be rendered for free as the basis for exemption.

Burkholder: No 'qualifying exemption' met by WMC

September 30, 2010
By Ann T. Burkholder
Tax questions regarding Valley Health and/or Winchester Medical Center have comprised a significant portion of my workload over the past lively nine months as Commissioner of the Revenue.

On Jan. 27, 2010, (City Attorney) Tony Williams, staff member Tina Butler, and I visited the Wellness Center in response to Valley Health's protest of the personal property tax and business license taxes of that site. At the time, Todd Way of Valley Health also asked about the questionnaires regarding the initial triennial review of tax-exempt properties, any need to apply for exemption of the new Diagnostic Center, and options for minimizing tax discussions regarding future construction and usage charges.

Consequently, Valley Health submitted an application for real estate tax exemption for the WMC campus in February 2010, which was scheduled for review at the March 23 City Council work session. Upon seeing the recommendation of the Assessor and Commissioner of the Revenue that Valley Health be denied a blanket exemption, Valley Health then withdrew its application. By filing and subsequently withdrawing this application, Valley Health clearly demonstrated its own awareness that no clear and irrefutable tax exemption exists for the WMC campus.

Since then, the city and Valley Health have gone back and forth on the matter, accelerated by recent meetings between the two parties. In a letter dated Sept. 2, James Daniel, attorney for Valley Health, wrote, "We understand that it is not in dispute that charitable, nonprofit, Virginia hospitals are exempt by classification from local real estate and personal property tax."

I do not agree with this statement; rather, whether Valley Health/Winchester Medical Center qualifies for exemption under that section of the Code of Virginia is specifically what is in question. It is the position of this office that the entity is subject to taxation unless City Council enacts a classification or designation otherwise.

It is likely that the City of Winchester considered the original Winchester Memorial Hospital, on the Stewart Street site, and the naissent Winchester Medical Center to be tax-exempt under liberal interpretation of the language of the 1902 Virginia Constitution. While post-1971 updates to the Code of Virginia include stricter guidelines, nothing has been found which clearly establishes WMC's entitlement to tax exemption under either the current or earlier version of the Constitution.

While correspondence from prior administrations suggests that the issue was examined, by all parties' accounts, the mission and business of today's Winchester Medical Center have substantially evolved from the hospital of yore. As a result, the commissioner has little basis on which to conclude that ownership, use of the property, and, in fact, the property itself, are the same as when the exemption initially came into use.

On Sept. 23, Valley Health officials held a press conference at the Wellness Center to discuss their 2009 Community Benefit Report. As stated by the Valley Health Board Chair, the point was to show what Valley Health gives to the community in lieu of paying taxes. Of the $71.3 million in benefits claimed, over 63 percent consists of bad debt expense and Medicare Reimbursement Shortfall, both of which more accurately fall under the cost of doing business.

Valley Health avers its not-for-profit status and charitable contributions undermine any claim of ineligibility for exemption, yet neither point is relevant to the matter at hand. Not-for-profit does not automatically equate to non-taxable. Moreover, while the City of Winchester is very appreciative of the generosity and community benefits provided by Valley Health, these are not a substitute for the benefits provided by tax revenue. Here in the city, we are blessed with many citizens and businesses that willingly donate goods, money, and services to designated charities, yet also pay their fair share of local taxes for the common good.

Assisted by the City Attorney, City Assessor, and my staff, I have reviewed applicable state and local code, local records of council action, numerous legal opinions and proceedings, and information provided by Valley Health. Considerations in evaluating tax-exempt status have included:

Categories of taxation, to include real estate, gross receipts business license and personal property taxes.

Usage of real property, including undeveloped land, property leased to outside entities, and property used for personal and professional services.

Variety of business units operating under Valley Health, including traditional hospital functions, as well as those in direct competition with fully taxable entities, such as the Wellness Center and physician office practices under Valley Physician Enterprise.

Fair and equitable distribution of local taxpaying responsibility, recognizing that Valley Health will continue to expand its vision, mission, and revenue stream.

The role of Valley Health as a valuable community partner.

At this point, my findings indicate the property and activities of the WMC Campus do not meet any qualifying exemption by classification or by designation and thus are taxable. Within the next two weeks, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, my office will begin preparing the current year real estate tax bills for the WMC Campus and will proceed with other applicable billings.

Ann T. Burkholder is commissioner of the revenue for the City of Winchester.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Pub's perspective on WMC being voted not tax-exempt

For those who want to start screaming at City Council and the new commissioner of the revenue, do some research and learn more about VHS and how profitable an organization they have been over the last 10 years.

But don’t be misled here, for-profit hospitals that pay taxes, has charity care too, bad debt and also gives back to respective local communities as well that they serve.

Wonder why Mr. Whitworth Jr. did not share nor the community benefit chart in The Winchester Star on September 24th display the excess of revenue over expenses figures for 2005-2009 last Thursday during the press conference when they discussed the VHS's 2009 Community Benefit?  To be more precise, profit/loss figures.

Based on information shared by a VHS official in December of 2009, Valley Health System's five year profit total for years 2004-2008 was a little over $218.6 million.

An internet poster on WincStar’s website Tuesday made a comment that the staff at WMC has not received at least a cost-of-living increase since 2007. Wonder if this is true?

Reference  and post#2 which is below:

Well...for all those in favor of this...just remember it when you, your friend, neighbor or family member don't qualify for a write off or reduction, or there IS an increase in the rates....WMC is just like every other buisness...budget is already set for the year...AND they are behind budget...just like alot of businessess...

Are you aware staff have not had a cost of living raise since 2007? How many of you, in favor of this have rec'd a raise? Many positions have been the next time you are a patient and feel like your nurse, aide or Dr aren't giving you enough attention...remember, they have to work HARDER just to maintain the income they have now....


The “Winchester Medical Center” has been very profitable for years 2001-2007 where their profits increased 460% but dropped off in 2008.

* 2001 - $11.8 million (Quad State Biz Journal)
* 2002 - ?
* 2003 - ?
* 2004 - ?
* 2005 - $54,346,679 (per IRS990)
* 2006 - $57,422,678 (per IRS990)
* 2007 - $66,617,961 (per IRS990)
* 2008 - $ 9,500,911 (per IRS990)
* 2009 - ?

Based on those figures, can anyone tell us why the staff at WMC has not received at least a cost-of-living increase since 2007 according to an individual who posted on WincStar’s website on Tuesday (if those comments are factual by tiredmom)?

For the record, The Pub has advocated that the nurses and blue collar workers are under compensated. Reference this link dated October 14, 2009 ...

A huge problem for the City of Winchester is that two of the top 5 employers are non-profit (VHS & SU) and that is not a good thing for the tax-base.

The perception is that previous city councils did not have a denied stamp when tax exempt applications came across the table. This present council group has a difficult task of cleaning it up and trying to get a solid tax base again before any further decisions are made about raising Winchester City resident’s taxes.

Is it not time for everyone start stating "regional community" for Valley Health Systems since VHS serves many counties outside of Winchester and Frederick County. VHS is no longer just Winchester and Frederick County.

VHS serves 18 counties to be exact in VA, MD and WV.

How many employees at the WMC campus live outside the City of Winchester?
How many live across the state line?

The charity care and bad debt are isolated benefits to those individuals in need.

The WMC campus is the home base of all of those 18 counties that VHS serves/resides in.

How many of those patients of charity care are actual Winchester and Frederick County residents?

Burkholder's memo challenges the report's "total community benefit and other measures" figure of $71.3 million for 2009. "... Over 63 [percent] consists of bad debt expense and Medicare Reimbursement Shortfall, both of which more accurately fall under the cost of doing business."

Reference the Community Benefit chart in The Winchester Star on September 24th. Maybe the more realistic "community benefit" number is the line labeled "total community benefit" for the 18 counties that VHS serves.
Valley Health System's 2009 Community Benefit Chart

Wonder if the folks with regular insurance are actually making up the majority of differences on Medicaid shortfalls, charity-care and bad-debt?

So really, how can anyone determine how much VHS is actually giving away locally in Winchester and Frederick County? One would think that with the technology and record keeping systems available today, VHS must be aware of that solely based on a zip code of the patients/customers.

The new Wellness & Fitness Center had $1.1 million in revenue during its first three months of operation when it opened their doors in September of 2008.

Wonder how much revenue it brought in for 2009 with their current 5,800 members?

Bottom-line, the perception is that those taxes will be very minimal to WMC overall once compared to the profits that WMC has turned out over the last 10 years. But will have a significant impact on the city’s tax base with hopes of getting it back to a respectable operating status so that City Council will not have to look into raising the city resident’s taxes in the future.

Unfortunately, this will not be an easy task for City officials as it will most likely end up being a long legal battle.
City Councilman Milt McInturff called the council's endorsement "appropriate," but said the issue includes "legal ramifications" that likely will be challenged in court.
"It's just the beginning of a long road," he said. "I think the commissioner of revenue is doing her job, and I respect the job she's doing."

Winchester Medical Center ruled not tax-exempt

City Council votes 7-0 to authorize first-half real estate tax bill of more than $1 million

By Vic Bradshaw
The Winchester Star
September 29, 2010

WINCHESTER- The not-for-profit Winchester Medical Center is not exempt from property taxation, according to a report prepared by the commissioner of the revenue and endorsed Tuesday by the City Council.

In a decision that likely is the first of its kind in Virginia, the council voted 7-0 to authorize Commissioner Ann Burkholder to prepare a first-half real estate tax bill for the portion of the WMC campus that has not been billed, unless compelling evidence is presented that the property is exempt.

That bill would total slightly more than $1 million, Burkholder said, and bills for personal property taxes and up to three years of back taxes could follow.

For the remainder of the story, click below ...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Winchester Medical Center's financial comparison for years 2007 and 2008

Winchester Winchester

Medical Center Medical Center

Winchester, VA  Winchester, VA 

2007 2008
Licensed beds: 411 411
Staffed Beds: 411 411
Licensed NISU bassinets: 24 24
Staffed NISU bassinets: 24 24
Staffed normal newborn bassinets: 12 12
Patient Days: 110,115 110,475
Admissions: 25,318 25,040
Full-Time Equivalents - Payroll: 2,297 2,293
Full-Time Equivalents - Contract: 140 127

Gross Inpatient Revenue: 409,766,805 432,444,823
Gross Outpatient Revenue: 263,761,298 306,941,444
Gross Patient Revenue: 673,528,103 739,386,267
Contractual Allowance: 234,014,441 274,805,640
Charity Care: 25,752,576 32,784,775
Indigent Care Trust: 0 -150,000
Net Patient Revenue: 413,761,086 431,795,852
Other Operating Revenue: 13,788,825 12,202,410

Current Assets: 207,181,874 163,881,986
Net Fixed Assets: 276,623,250 310,687,613
Other Assets: 220,606,786 193,139,219
Total Assets: 704,411,910 667,708,818
Current Liabilities: 43,025,848 40,451,147
Long Term Liabilities: 207,765,314 264,403,642
Total Liabilities: 250,792,162 304,944,789
Fund Balance: 453,619,748 362,764,029

Labor Expense: 180,988,686 180,957,635
Non-Labor Expense: 145,327,697 155,439,049
Capital Expense: 37,317,267 42,785,264
Taxes: $162,362 $59,184
Bad-Debt Expense: 23,331,159 21,253,614
Total Operating Expense: 387,127,171 400,494,746
Operating Income: 40,422,740 43,503,516
Net Non-Operating gains: 26,195,223 -34,002,605

Revenue & Gains

in excess of expenses (profits): $66,617,963 $9,500,911

Source = Virginia Health Information, From Numbers to Knowledge

Non-operating gains and losses resulting from transactions incidental or peripheral to the hospital’s central ongoing operations. This may include such items as gifts received, tax support and subsidies, returns on investment of general funds, and gain or loss on sale of properties, as well as other items.

The 3rd Wal-Mart is coming to the local area!

It's official, a third Wal-Mart is under way, but what type of affect will this second Frederick County Wal-Mart have on Winchester's store?

Permit approved for area's third Walmart
September 28, 2010
By Cynthia Cather Burton

ARMEL- Site work has begun for the Winchester area's third Walmart store.

Frederick County officials recently approved a land-disturbance permit for the approximately 150,000-square-foot Superstore in Eastgate Commerce Center at Front Royal Pike (U.S. 522) and Tasker Road, according to Candice Perkins, the county's senior planner.

"Building permits have also been applied for," she said, "but they haven't been issued yet."

For the remainder of the story ...

Wal-Mart to open third store locally
By Lorraine Halsted

Armel — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will be submitting plans to Frederick County today for a new superstore to be built in Eastgate Commerce Center at U.S. 522 South and Tasker Road.

The southern Frederick County location will be the third Wal-Mart Superstore for the Winchester-Frederick County area, but will differ in its size and appearance, according to information provided by the company.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Is VHS's electronic medical records living up to the hype? Loading, please wait ...

One Winchester physician explains why, in his experience, electronic medical records are failing to live up to the hype.  To learn more about his experience, click on the following story by Les Sillars of The Frederick County Observer blog.

Is VHS's electronic medical records living up to the hype? Loading, please wait ...

As one reader shared their opinion with The Pub on the electronic medical records system after it was e-mailed out last night ...
"Big government wants to control all computer systems so they can track everyone for back taxes etc.  This health care bill is a lot more than meets the eye. It is a set up for further control of all citizens."

Another article of interest,  also by The Frederick County Observer on June 17, 2010:
Valley Health’s Updated Electronic Medical Records System Goes Online Next Month

Valley Health officials outline contributions

September 24, 2010, By Rebecca Layne
WINCHESTER- Valley Health officials gathered Thursday to spread the word that the nonprofit organization is a good neighbor.

During an information session in the Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center on the Winchester Medical Center campus, they discussed their 2009 Community Benefit Report. The presentation illustrates the challenges the six-hospital system has been facing in the economic slowdown and the efforts it has made for the community.

For the remainder of the article ...

Nobody in this area is going to dispute the facts that Valley Health Systems provides a lot of great valuable services and gives back to the vast regional communities that VHS is operating in as a not-for-profit institution.

Is it not time for the local media to start stating "regional community" for Valley Health since they serve many counties outside of Winchester and Frederick County.  VHS serves 18 counties to be exact.

The charity care and bad debt are isolated benefits to those individuals in need.  The programmatic community benefit has an affect on every individual within these regional communities.

The programmatic community benefit (community health improvement & community benefit operations; health professions education; subsidized health services; research; cash and in-kind donations) amounts for years 2009 back to 2005 are 7.1, 7.6, 1.3, 1.7 and 2.9 million respectively.

Wonder why Mr. Whitworth Jr. did not share nor the community benefit chart display the excess of revenue over expenses figures for 2005-2009?  To be more precise, profit/loss figures.

Valley Health System's five year profit total for years 2004-2008 was a little over $218.6 million.

But don’t be misled here, for-profit hospitals that pay taxes, has charity care too, bad debt and also gives back to local communities as this side-by-side comparison link below will show in detail.’s comment on the comparison: “Valid comparison.  Roll with it.”

2007 Winchester Medical Center / Lewis-Gale Medical Center side-by-side comparison

A couple of notable highlights of the 2007 comparison, Lewis-Gale Medical Center paid $12.1 million in taxes as compared to Winchester Medical Center’s $162,362 (one hundred and sixty-two thousand and three-hundred and sixty-two dollars).  Winchester Medical Center had a profit of $66.6 million as compared to Lewis-Gale’s $11.9 million.

Valley Health’s community benefit report information for years 2005-2007 was taken from the pamphlet mailer.

 The 2008 numbers were taken from VHS’s mailer, no link provided and 2004’s numbers were taken from VHS’s former website.

To get a better understanding of the breakdown of VHS’s 2007 $56.1 million in community benefit.  Again, got a perspective from

Also, do not forget about how profitable that the “Winchester Medical Center” was for years 2001-2007 where their profits increased 460%.

2001 - $11.8 million (per
Quad State Biz Journal)
2005 - $54,346,679 (per IRS990)

2006 - $57,422,678 (per IRS990)

2007 - $66,617,961 (per IRS990)

The Wellness Fitness Center brought in $1.1 million in revenue in just their first 3 months of operation after opening their doors in September of 2008.

Just before the wellness and fitness center opened in September 2008, it had collected 3,200 applications for membership.

Kent said the goal was to reach 5,000 members in three years, but it has moved beyond that. “We hit that number in a year,” she said, noting that the center now has 5,800 members.

Wonder how much revenue did the Wellness Fitness Center generate for 2009?

More information on the Zoning Violation issue from August, 4th WincStar article:
The issue arose when Diem determined that the wellness center was violating the city zoning code by marketing its services to the public via a website, direct mailings, and advertisements in The Winchester Star.

Diem sent WMC a letter stating that its marketing efforts must cease because they violate terms set for buildings in the Medical Center zone. Private health clubs are allowed in the zone, but they cannot be marketed publicly.

The zone's definition - including the prohibition on public marketing - was written and submitted on WMC's behalf in 1989.

Butler and hospital officials and board members argued before the BZA that "personal services" best describes the use of the wellness center, a use that allows public marketing.

The BZA quickly rejected that argument, but did not vote to make the wellness center immediately cease its marketing campaigns. Instead, it gave WMC four months to seek an amendment to the zoning code that would enable the center to be marketed publicly.
Information from September 8th WincStar article:
The wellness center issue stems from a determination made in May by Vincent Diem, the city's zoning and inspections administrator, that the center was violating the zoning code by publicly marketing its services.

The city zoning ordinance states that recreational facilities and private health clubs or sports-medicine clinics are permitted in the Medical Center District. However, the ordinance includes a provision that the facilities cannot be "marketed to the public-at-large."

Ironically, the restriction was included in an amendment written on behalf of WMC in 1989, and passed by the City Council in 1990.

After reading quotes and statement from the Quad State Business Journal article back in May of 2006, it is safe to say that VHS’s projections were somewhat conservative:
In projections used for COPN (Certificate of Pubic Need) approval, Valley Health said it is looking at a membership of 4,000 persons, targeting the 35-to 80-age group, especially people who don't exercise, said Kent.

"I have met with owners of the local clubs, and some say we will take members away from them," said Kent. "But we are hoping to attract people who don't exercise. In most markets, commercial clubs did not go out of business; their memberships actually went up because of the increased awareness of fitness."

Valley Health is projecting the wellness center business will break even in its second year, and after the third year will throw off cash flow of almost $1.3 million. Funding the cost of the center from Valley Health internal resources means there is no requirement for debt service.

"If it [wellness center] is such a big money maker, others would have come into the market."

The perception is that this information session that took place in the Valley Health Wellness & Fitness Center on the Winchester Medical Center campus on Thursday is most likely a result of City officials calling out VHS in violating their own zoning ordinance that the WMC had drawn up on their behalf back in 1989 and was adopted by City Council in 1990.