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by Kolton Hewlett
The Decatur County Hospital Board of Trustees met in the hospital administrative board room on Monday, June 16, 2014 @ 5:30 p.m. Trustees present for the meeting were Guy Clark, Carrie Melcher, Leon Kessel, Rudy Evertsen, Cayle Buckingham and Linda Chastain. Hospital executives present were Suzanne Cooner, Tara Spidle, Jo Beth Smith and Andi Masters.
Trustee Linda Chastain reported that the Decatur County Auxiliary was hosting their 8th annual golf tournament and fundraiser on Saturday, August 2nd, at the Leon Golf and Country Club. She explained that participation in the tournament helps with auxiliary’s endeavors to provide the hospital with patient care equipment, as well as to support the hospital SCICF endowment, annual healthcare scholarship, auxiliary gift shop and the $80,000 pledge to the building project. More information about how to be involved can be obtained from auxiliary member Rachel Duncan.
There was discussion about concern from various community members about the general public patronizing the hospital cafeteria. Their concern is that the hospital is not charging enough to remain competitive with local restaurants in town. Chief of Support Services, Jo Beth Smith reported that the hospital purchases their inventory through a Mercy buying group. Current prices have been benchmarked with surrounding hospital dietary departments and were found to be comparable.
CEO Suzanne Cooner stated the hospital wanted to make sure meals are affordable for the patient’s family and visitors. Trustee Carrie Melcher shared that she thought that the hospital should be promoting the cafeteria and that it was good for the community to think about the hospital other than just when they were sick.
CEO Suzanne Cooner reported that they had received the results back from their regulatory audit for policies and Utilization Review. She congratulated Chief Nursing Officer, Andi Masters, for her hard work to achieve a perfect score of 32/32. She also stated that they had a preliminary interview for the potential of adding a General/Vascular Surgeon to the Medical Staff. The hospital is currently meeting with two different Anesthesia groups to select a provider for the addition of pain services.
Cooner noted that the Strategic Planning Session is scheduled for July 17th. The session will include hospital staff, board members and medical staff. She also disclosed that Joyce Young is retiring after 33 years of service. The Board commended Joyce on her dedication and contributions to DCH.
Cooner also reported that they are currently interviewing Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants with ER and/or critical care experience for more coverage in the ER. The Medical Staff has expressed concern that they need more MD/DOs on staff. The hospital’s proposal to the Board was that they employ three full-time Nurse Practitioners or Physician Assistants. By employing their own providers it would limit the use of more expensive contracted emergency department providers and provide consistency for their patients. It was also explained that the law states you need to have an MD/DO on back-up call at all times. CEO Cooner told the Board that Dr. Magle has agreed to continue to serve on the Professional Advisory and Quality Committee for the hospital allowing CHCSI physicians to remain in the clinic seeing patients.
Jo Beth Smith gave an update on the possibility of employing a full-time physical therapist at the hospital. Currently, this is a contracted service and they will need additional coverage for expanded services. She explained that a lot of that cost was for travel time. Jo Beth elucidated that by employing a full-time physical therapist for the hospital would be more cost effective and ensure continuity of care.
CEO Cooner distributed the new logo for the hospital and reported the new website should be launched by the end of next week. The hospital is currently working on an employee satisfaction survey and will use the data to create an action plan to address the results.
CFO Tara Spidle gave the financial report, reporting that gross revenue was 11% under the previous month and year- to- date was 2.3 % over last year. Operating revenue was 5.8% under budget for the month and 5% under budget year-to-date. She reported that patient days were going up with the current year-to-date average at 136. She also expressed there were only 17 surgical procedures in the month of May. She explained they had tightened the budget over the last couple months and feels that the hospital is moving positively in the right direction.
Cynthia Forsyth, Mercy Health Network Physician Recruiter, presented to the Board ways she is working with hospital leaders on how to recruit physicians. She explained how much more difficult it is for rural hospitals to obtain physicians. Forsyth commented on the strong leadership of CEO Cooner and her administrative team.
The following action items were approved: Clinical Experience Affiliation with Indian Hills Community College, Board of Trustees By-Laws, the allowance of the hospital to place communication equipment on the City of Leon south water tower, nurse practitioner/physician assistant agreement for the Emergency Department, renewal of agreement with the Davis Brown Law Firm, the five year lease of a C-Arm, and the security audit. Hameed Khan, MD and Stephen Griffith, MD were approved for medical staff appointments.