The Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors closed out their final monthly meeting of 2015 on December 2nd, with the unanimous approval of the 2016 budget, which, according to Board Chairman, Julie Branes, will have no impact on the hospital district mill levy.
Emily Nieschburg of LiveWell/Healthy Places recapped the latest developments of those organizations with a Community Alliance update for the board. Providing some historical context, Nieschburg said that LiveWell Prowers County was developed and funded to stem the growth of childhood obesity in Prowers County, one of the highest in the state. She said the funding stream for LiveWell is closing, but it helped achieve major accomplishments including leveraging $800,000 in funding to over $1M in additional grants to create a healthier Prowers County.
Nieschburg explained that although the funding is concluding, the various health-oriented partnerships that have developed over the past several years have created a momentum that will continue. Communications among the various groups was instrumental in developing Collective Impact models to deal with large projects; some of which were beyond the reach of a single organization. The local outgrowth was the creation of Healthy Places which, among other tasks, contributed to the community health needs assessment. Civic Canopies was hired as a facilitator to develop strategies for neighborhood involvement in Lamar and a subsequent listening tour outlined four areas of study which will be key to future plans. The goals will focus on allowing residents to become more physically active, awareness of healthier food choices, allowing families to invest in decision making and a communications network. Creating a backbone organization was the next step, a group that will ‘own’ the work to be done on a ground level, not just initiate more meetings. From that, she explained, a neutral site for all the groups to meet was selected as the Healthy Places storefront at Main and Olive Streets, the former PCDI offices.
Nieschburg said additional funding is expected as the group was awarded a $100,000 funding grant from GOCO’s state-wide Inspire Initiative which could bring several million dollars into the county specifically targeting local youth and providing more outdoor activities for them. Plans for those goals need to be submitted by August for consideration.
In other action, the board approved a contract ratification for Black Bear Construction regarding continued asbestos abatement during the hospital’s on-going construction project. Funds were approved to refurbish an anesthesia machine for the operating room and staff was directed to research the costs to repair an imaging unit and expand the imaging office to accommodate the future purchase on a new unit.
Chief Executive Officer, Craig Loveless, informed the board that a Strategic Planning MAP had been downsized from seven to four initiatives for hospital procedures and performance. There are some sixty tasks listed under the four initiatives, which he said was difficult to manage. Those tasks, he explained, have been prioritized to from three to five per initiative. Some examples include such areas as maintaining and engaging a work force and strong leadership, create a strong middle management team and develop a physician recruitment program based on service side growth. Loveless said the Plan will be underdevelopment through the next several years.
By Russ Baldwin
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