31 May 2012

Mismanagement and Media Math #nlpoli

CBC’s online story takes a weird tack on the tale of recent financial and management problems at Eastern Health, the province’s largest regional health authority.

CBC headlines its story “Hospital Tim’s never came close to predict profit”.

That’s true but the full story is so much more interesting. While the profit may have been less than originally predicted, the facts are the outlet worked as intended for most of the time its been in operation:  it made money.

The losses, though, are spectacular and recent.

According to information CBC Radio reported on Thursday morning, the Tim’s outlet at the Health Sciences Centre made money in 10 of the 16 years it’s been open.

The outlet lost $700,000 in those other six years.  Four of those six years of deficits have been consistent losses from 2008 to 2011.  Logically, then, the outlet lost money in only two of the other dozen years it has been open.

Drill down, as the Premier is fond of saying sometimes, and you see even more interesting details..

In 2008, the outlet lost $300,000.  In 2011 – the most recent year for which we have figures – the outlet lost $260,000.  Add that together and you can see that of the $700,000 in losses since 1996, 80% of it came in two of the past four years. You can probably rack up most of the other 20% in those two years in between,as well.  CBC doesn’t provide the details in its online story.

Eastern Health chief executive Vicki Kaminski told CBC’s St. John’s Morning Show on Thursday that one of the reasons for the loss in 2008 was that the cafeteria was closed for a chunk of the year but they still paid staff.  Curious as that is, you really have to wondered how it could be that the outlet lost almost as much money in 2011 and took losses in the intervening years as well.

So while the outlet may never have made the profit officials originally projected, the thing did make money for 10 of the 16 years the health authority ran it.  In fact, for 75% of the time  12 out of 16 years), the thing was apparently overwhelmingly profitable.

It just went into the crapper lately, which is what the headline should have pointed out.