PMC Board Renews Portner’s Contract, Approves Doctor Training Program

Following a lengthy executive session Wednesday, March 28, the Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors voted three to two to extend the one year contract for Dr. Barry Portner, Chief of Staff. Gene Cruikshank, Candy Ruedeman and Marge Campbell voted in favor of renewing Dr. Portner’s contract for another year. 

James Fairchild, Chief Executive Officer, briefed the board on participating in a coordinated training program at PMC for osteopath physicians from Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. Parkview secured a grant from the Health Services and Resources Administration to help recruit physicians into rural areas. The board gave the go ahead to Fairchild to discuss the residency training program which will bring ten physicians, one to two at a time, to Prowers Medical Center. Fairchild described the opportunity as “win-win” as there will be no cost to PMC, and the program will provide an opportunity to recruit future specialty physicians to join the hospital on a full time basis. The board members agreed this would be a great opportunity for all involved. 

Board member Marge Campbell asked Audrey Kane, interim Chief Financial Officer what the hospital spends a month in advertising. Kane said she would have to review her figures to provide an answer. Campbell stated, “How much are we just promoting of what people already should know? Is there a place where you can cut back on that?” Karen Bryant, Chief Operating Officer explained, that there have been general comments in public that Prowers Medical Center, “Is the best kept secret in southeast Colorado.” She added that the hospital maintains a regular schedule of media advertising in the community, and during special events such as the annual Health Fair, will promote the event more heavily. James Fairchild added that even though the Convenient Care Clinic is relatively new and continues to serve a growing number of clients, there are still area residents who do not know the Clinic is a low-cost alternative to emergency room care. Campbell also asked what the recall election cost the hospital. Kane estimated the cost in the neighborhood of $15,000, with legal fees contributing to the majority of the cost, about $11,000. Kane added that the May 8 election for new board of directors and the $5 million expansion bond is not expected to be so costly.  

The monthly financial report showed Net Operating Income for February at $196,462 and expenses were $1,931,498, less than the budget figure of $2,024,357. Cash at month end was $4,358,795 which reflects a drop of $298,023 from the previous month. The cash represents 74 days of cash on hand which is a five day decrease from January and an eleven day drop over the past three months. She explained that the hospital was paying some significant bills during that period which contributed to the downturn. Most hospitals attempt to keep their cash on hand at better than 100 days. 

Candy Ruedeman stated that as of last April, she had requested a hospital salary review report and just recently received one in her board meeting packet that was dated in October.  Ruedeman asked why it has taken almost a year to receive the report, and also, why it was only a partial report.  Ruedeman added, “It just doesn’t make sense for us to ask for a report and have to wait a year and only get half of it.”  Board members discussed the sensitivity and privacy issue over such a document, but voted in favor of issuing the complete report to be reviewed in executive session at the next board of directors meeting. 

Board member Marge Campbell requested an update on an employee satisfaction report she had requested, also about a year ago.  Hospital C.O.O., Karen Bryant stated that she recently narrowed the list of survey providers to three, and of those, recommended one that is the most comprehensive and can be funded by a Colorado Rural Health Center Grant.  Bryant said the survey would be conducted over a three year span and could be conducted online.  Employee privacy would be conducted by means of a personal password and responses would be correlated so that an employee could not be identified by their particular type of employment at the hospital.

Mike Bryant, PMC Foundation Executive Director, was not on hand for the meeting, but his written report shows that the Foundation’s Wish Book has accounted for $8,832.34 in equipment purchases through the PMC Auxiliary. The wish book is available throughout the hospital and has been distributed at some local businesses in the community.  It contains a wish list from various hospital departments and citizens or businesses may contribute to the purchase price of the equipment. So far, ten items have been purchased. The Star is born program is also raising funds for the hospital Foundation. Artwork representations of shooting stars are on two walls at PMC. Eight persons so far have purchased smaller stars which will be posted on the walls to showcase a recent birth, or one from years ago. The funds will be used by the Foundation.   

Wayne Scholz from Quorum Health Resources gave a brief outline for the search for a new Chief Executive Officer, following Fairchild’s announcement of his resignation, effective May 23, 2012. Pending his replacement there will also be two new faces on the board of directors at Prowers Medical Center. The May 8 election for the hospital district will elect two new members, replacing Joe Spitz and Gene Cruikshank who are not running for re-election. Jan Hall, board chairman, along with Candy Ruedeman and Marge Campbell will not be up for re-election until 2014. Doug Harbour, from Voices of Southeast Colorado, recently announced that a candidate forum for board members will be hosted by Voices at the Cultural Events Center on April 17, from 7 to 9pm.  Candidates have been invited to attend the forum to outline their credentials for the two seats, and the public will be invited to ask questions of the candidates.

By Russ Baldwin


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