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MERGED HOSPITAL CUTS OPERATING LOSSES

United Memorial Medical Center, an 18-month-old merger of the city's two community hospitals, has reduced its operating losses this year, but "we still have a long ways to go," Chief Executive Officer Charles S. Kinney said Tuesday.

Kinney told members of the Batavia Rotary Club that the hospital lost $3.6 million in 2000, part of it because of the merger and related expenses. He said that the projected loss for 2001 is $500,000.

Kinney told Rotarians that Western New York hospitals lost $103 million in 1999. He blamed the loss on the federal Balance Budget Act of 1999 and state insurance reforms of the same year.

"Much of our income is from Medicare where on average we're reimbursed for about half of what the care costs," Kinney said.

The CEO outlined steps aimed at cutting losses, including new physicians, staff reductions, privatization of some services and consolidation of services.

The Bank Street location, once St. Jerome Hospital, is currently for sale. Most procedures have been moved to what was formerly Genesee Memorial Hospital on North Street.

United Memorial employs 740 full- and part-time workers, paying more than $20 million a year in salaries and spending more than $4 million for goods and services.

Said Kinney: "We want a strong community hospital, responsive to community needs and collaborating with other providers."

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