Prowers Medical Center Annual Meeting (part 2)

Interim CEO Craig Loveless and New Board Members, Ron Farmer and Julie Branes

Editor Note: The following is the second half of a two part article reporting on the  annual Prowers Medical Center, Board of Director meeting on May 23, 2012.  The first article was made available online on May 24.

Improving communications among hospital staff and in the community on several levels was stressed during the annual Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors meeting Wednesday, May 23.

Craig Loveless, interim Chief Executive Officer, has been with the hospital for under a month, replacing James Fairchild, while a permanent CEO is being sought.  Loveless informed the board he spent the past two weeks speaking with hospital staff, one on one and in group sessions.  “I took ideas from them at those meetings and we’ll continue to do that.  You can’t function without that information.  We can’t make proper directions and I can’t make proper decisions and you (the board) can’t give me directions unless I give you that information,” he told board members.  Quroum Health Resources representative Bill Donatelli suggested the new board members spend time becoming oriented to their legal responsibilities as a government entity and medical provider before their next meeting.  He suggested they review the annual budget and hospital finances and get up to speed as quickly as possible.  The board should also email Loveless with what they personally consider to be the top five priorities of the hospital’s CEO and see how well they match with his outline.

The hospital’s strategic plan also came under review at the annual meeting.  “Where are we as an organization in our strategic plan?” Loveless asked.  He said there’s one on the PMC website, “But it’s from 2010 and we’re three years into a five year plan with no real follow up.”  He suggested the board start thinking about the plan, using input from not just senior management, but all hospital staff.  He suggested improved working relationships should be considered a key element of a revised strategic plan.  Loveless explained the subjects repeated most from his staff interviews named:  a feeling of not being involved, no real communication and a true concern for the community.

Donatelli stated that the management firm would supply facilitators to help develop a strategic plan outline through in-hospital interviews as well as with members of the community.  He said this would shape into a marketing assessment covering such areas as hospital admissions, transients, outpatient volumes, population, etc. which would help validate known facets of hospital life.  Board member, Candy Ruedeman, stated that area medical providers such as the hospital, Prowers County Nursing Service, HPCHC as well as medical services in Bent, Baca and Kiowa counties, are working on a community health assessment which could provide input into the PMC assessment.  Board member, Marge Campbell cautioned that local revenue can be wasted through duplication of services, adding, “I’d like to see us be able to slow and reverse the adversarial role between different groups in the community.”  Cambell made suggestions regarding an alteration of the format of the monthly meeting agenda as well as the manner in which the minutes of the last meeting have been kept.  Campbell recommended that some record also be kept of the progress being made on assignments that are given to either board members, medical staff or hospital administration.  “In the past, these have been handed out, but there hasn’t been any follow up to know what progress has been made,” she said.

Other agenda items included board approval of a medical educational loan for a current employee.  The board authorized a two year loan, not to exceed $7,000 for training in return for a three year contract once the employee had successfully completed their education at an accredited grade level.   There was discussion that the by-laws should be reviewed in this area to ensure tuition payments from the hospital are made to the school.

The board authorized Loveless to negotiate the best deal on behalf of the hospital for a one acre tract of land between the north entrance to PMC and the canal.  The two owners of the property approached the hospital for a potential purchase.  Although it was noted the land has little value, the options are a cash payment not to exceed $1,000 or to suggest the land be donated to the PMC Foundation for a tax right off.  Board member, Ron Farmer said that as there was little value to the property, there wouldn’t be much gain for a tax credit.

A replacement tractor was authorized by the board.  The current model overheats after an hour of use and the maintenance crew has to wait until it cools down before they can use it for mowing and other duties on hospital grounds.  The purchase cost was $11,500. The board will also look into the by-laws regulating the amount of purchases the CEO may make without approval from the board.

The number of residents taking advantage of the May PMC Health Fair was down this year, at 489 visits.  COO Karen Bryant said the total number of annual visits was 1,154.  For the past several years, PMC has conducted health fairs at area businesses and in the local communities which lowers the numbers for the annual fair in May.

The financial report for April noted the number of hospital days for cash on hand had dropped to 79, showing a slight decrease for the past few months.  Chief Financial Officer, Audrey Kane reported there was a net income for April of $30,998 and the cash at month end was down $67,785 from the previous month.  Ron Farmer made inquiries regarding an explanation for adjusted patient days on the monthly hospital records and billing, as well as questions on fluctuation numbers for gross patient revenues for a four month comparison between this year and 2011.

One other area to receive the board’s attention, the Medicare contract, which was signed by the hospital in 1964.  Donatelli said their rules must be followed for proper compensation, and the board should review that agreement as it lists board responsibility, the duties of the medical staff, quality oversight and other areas.  The next board of director meeting will be held June 27.

by Russ Baldwin

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