New hanover regional medical center finds itself in a tight situation as it overlooks next year's budget. Hospital officials say they will have to operate the facility more efficiently. They stress they are in the beginning stages of figuring out how to make cuts. In years past, the hospital has been able to increase the number of patients to balance out the increasing cost of health care. But they can't any longer. Malpractice insurance, employee health care benefits, and the cost of health care continue to increase. And the hospital's number of patients is maxed out. Chief Nurse Executive Mary Ellen Bonczek says this is a serious situation, but hospital employees shouldn't be worried. The budget needs to be done by the fall. The fiscal year starts in october.