The MetroHealth System had expected to earn $40 million this year, but as of the end of July, it was on track to lose $1.1 million. To make sure it ends the year in the black, the taxpayer-subsidized hospital, which serves as the region's safety net for the poor, instituted a hiring freeze this week and took other steps, including cutting discretionary spending that is not related to patient care, such as travel and consulting. "I'm not happy about where we are in the performance this year," MetroHealth CEO Mark Moran said, adding, "I feel confident that we're going to turn it around because we've done it before a couple of times." Since taking over in March 2008, Moran has been credited by the hospital board with bringing MetroHealth back from the financial brink. He has replaced much of the top management, overseen several rounds of layoffs and reorganized the health system's operations, including expanding hours at some clinics and updating coding and billing procedures. After projecting steep losses in early 2008, MetroHealth broke even at the end of the year. It reported audited net income of $58.5 million in 2009 and $27.1 million in 2010. By the end of last year, MetroHealth's management projected a $40 million net income for 2011, according to a financial spreadsheet given to the health system's board of trustees last week.