Cruz Roja Annual Report Card

Numbers, numbers, numbers
BY: REN DRAKE HILL

Out going president of the Cruz Roja Hospital Raul Zapata presented the hospital’s 2015 annual financial and services report to the members present at the February meeting of the Cruz Roja Volunteers. All money collected by the volunteers through donations, memberships, and thrift store purchases goes directly to the hospital each month. The Rosarito Cruz Roja thrift store now has a business manager, Jo Flowers, whose implementation of positive changes helped to triple the sales in 2015 from the year before.

2015 donations to the Cruz Roja volunteers paid for about 11% of the entire year’s operation. Membership swelled since January 2014 from barely 300 persons to 823 currently, thanks in large part to Ruby Arteaga, the membership chair. 

It costs $1260 per day to run the clinic/ hospital. Each time an ambulance rolls, it automatically costs $40, plus the cost of whatever medical supplies may be used. There was a 10% increase in the number of Cruz Roja ambulance runs in 2015; a rise from 4778 in 2012 to 5309 in 2015.

Thankfully, as care costs rise, so do donations. There was a 261% increase in donations from 2014 figures. Cruz Roja receives money from many sources; the annual colecta, car registrations, the cost of license plates, driver license and premarital physicals, and one peso from every city water bill, and the relative pittance received from the patients. 

The federal government does not support this Cruz Roja hospital at all. At the 2015 colecta the Baja State government donated about $9400 (US), and the municipal government donated $7500 (US).

Last year 4,144 people were treated by Cruz Roja; 3868 Mexican nationals and 276 foreigners.

The chief expense, naturally, is the payroll for 50 plus employees: 25 paramedics, five doctors, eight nurses, three C-4 emergency operators, cashiers, vehicle maintenance personnel, and administrative staff. This totaled $460,053 in 2015. There are also capital expenses that are amortized over more than one year. These include the purchase of new ambulances, communications equipment, Jaws of Life, and stabilizers. In 2016 the item to be amortized will be a new ambulance or a replacement for their aged rescue unit. An objective of Cruz Roja is that every ambulance have a defibrillator. With the aging population, this might be a good idea. Of course the population is only aging in the foreign sector and as you can see by the numbers above that we’re a tiny minority of the work the Cruz Roja does.

Time for a commercial break. The 2016 colecta will commence with a breakfast meeting in March and initial collecting of donations from the government and local companies. Tickets are available to this breakfast for about $250 pesos. For additional information keep your eyes on the Gringo Gazette calendar. The street corner colecta (collection drive), will operate April 7 – 30, so start saving that spare change now, to give to the can shakers on the street.  This money is marked for the purchase of new ambulance equipment.

The street collectors garnered about $28,125 US in 2015, by far the largest percentage of donations. Local businesses donated about $14,000 and schools collected about $5,000.

53% of Cruz Roja’s operating expenses comes from donations, and 23% of this amount was raised by the Cruz Roja volunteers. The hospital raises the remaining 47%. There was a 261% increase in donations from 2014 figures.  This year, Cruz Roja Rosarito Chapter volunteer president Rosie Pena’s goal is to raise $7500 through the chapter or the colecta. In 2014 and 2015 the chapter volunteers donated $5000.

It should be stressed that Cruz Roja is a stabilization hospital and does not specialize in medical procedures and services. Like a MASH unit, they stabilize the patient, and if specialized treatment is required they can transfer the patient out to a hospital in Tijuana or across the border to medical professionals there. Your choice, if you’re able to make the choice. 

Cruz Roja benefits everyone. If the hospital and clinic were to close it would be disastrous. Individual memberships are only $20 per year and it comes with benefits, including a discount on clinic services, special thrift store sale days, and if needed, a half price ambulance ride to the border, down to $100.