(HARTFORD, Conn.) – In a year where substantial revenue and market share growth could not keep pace with growing expenses, Saint Francis Care sustained a bottom line operating loss of $25.1 million during its 2008 fiscal year.

“This has easily been the most financially challenging year in my five-year tenure,” commented Christopher M. Dadlez, President and Chief Executive Officer, of the fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30.

Speaking today at Saint Francis’ Annual Meeting, held at the Connecticut Convention Center, Dadlez said that nearly $17 million of the operating loss relates to a change in the market value of an interest rate swap, which is a non-cash item.

“These losses occurred despite our robust market share and volume growth during the year that fueled an 8 percent increase in revenues,” said Dadlez.

The year saw the introduction of such new clinical services as the Stroke Center at Saint Francis, the Center for Advanced Wound Healing and Lymphedema Therapy and the Joyce D. and Andrew J, Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research. In addition, Connecticut VNA Partners was launched in collaboration with Masoniscare’s Connecticut VNA to offer expanded home care services.

Charity and free care increased by $3 million during the year. At the same time, bad debts grew by $5 million, reflecting changes in the economy and the trend of higher levels of patient responsibility in commercial insurance products and employer-provided insurance. Unpaid Medicaid costs grew by $4 million for the year. These three items, totaling $63 million, easily surpassed last year’s $51 million for these same expenditures.

Dadlez said that Saint Francis, in the past year, continued to set quality standards for healthcare in Connecticut, scoring 90 percent or higher on 20 of 22 national hospital quality measures. “We are among the top performing hospitals in the state,” he said. “Our goal for this year is to score greater then 90 percent in all 22 measures.”

Saint Francis continued to be successful in its physician recruiting efforts in the past year. Forty-six new physicians joined the Hospital, 12 of them critically needed primary care physicians.

During the meeting, two members of the Saint Francis family received the Hospital’s Spirit award, which recognizes those individuals whose actions have exceeded expectations. Pauline Olsen, M.D., a retired obstetrician/gynecologist, was honored for her prior clinical and administrative leadership at Saint Francis, as well as for her recent volunteer work with the House of Malta Care mobile medical van. Rev. Marcus McKinney, D.Min., Director of Pastoral Counseling and Community Outreach, was cited for his work in establishing a Pastoral Counseling Training Program and other community outreach activities.

Also at the Annual Meeting, Saint Francis introduced four new Board members and 43 new Corporators. New Board members are: Douglas K. Anderson, L. Jeffrey Baldwin, Robert M. Ellis and John W. Rodgers, M.D. New Corporators include: W. Ray Allen; Archbishop LeRoy Bailey, Jr.; L. Jeffrey Baldwin; Pamela H. Baldwin; Barbara J. Calderone; Scott K. Davis; David J. Dixon; Anne S. Evans; Michael A. Fish; Timothy Furey, Esq.; Elliott A. Ginsberg; Barbara P. Gordon; Richard H. Gordon; Sharon R. Hennessey; Kevin T. Henry; Ken Jackson; Kiran Jain; John R. Johnson; John “Jay” F. Kearns, III; Benjamin Kille; Nancy Larson; Cato T. Laurenein, M.D., Ph.D.; Evan B. Levy; Laurie A. Loiacono, M.D.; Ann M. Long; Jay Maffe; Robert W. McAllister, M.D.; Patricia H. Meiser; Raymond P. Necci; Irene O’Connor; Kevin J. O’Connor; Kevin J. Ollie; Linda S. Pendergast; William T. Rabbitt; Dick Robinson; Sally Robinson; Galo Rodriguez; M.P.H.; John G. Rowland; Andrew A. Sadanowicz; Steven F. Schutzer, M.D.; Tina K. Shepard; James Tillman; and Michael Wolf.

Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is a major teaching hospital licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets. It is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.