Prowers Medical Center Preparing for VA Status

Prowers Medical Center will be able to serve up to 2,000 veterans in the immediate seven county area, including western Kansas, once it qualifies as a VA medical provider, effective June 1.  PMC Chief Executive Officer, James Fairchild, provided an overview of the hospital’s new status for board members during their monthly director’s meeting, May 25.  “Those patients will be considered as Rural Health Care Clinic visits which will translate to additional funding to the hospital from Medicaid and Medicare,” he said.  Seven medical providers will be available to treat veterans who visit the Primary Outpatient Clinic starting next month.  Dr. Barry Portner, Chief of Staff, said all pertinent medical staff has been involved in VA training.

Board members voted to approve authorization for three capital purchases.  $34,000 to upgrade the lighting system to LED units for the surgical department; an upgrade was approved to improve from a T-1 computer transmission line to fiber optics to accommodate the demands on the hospital computer system for a new CT scan system and to connect to the Colorado Tele-health Network, especially in light of PMC gaining an in-house MRI device in June.  The final authorization was for $350,000 to equip the hospital for an Electronic Health Records system.  Fairchild said the hospital did not qualify for the grant he had submitted to cover costs of an upgrade study, but the funds had been budgeted by the hospital.  Fairchild said billings and collections would be localized once the system was in operation, allowing for more timely and accurate billing for patients.

Dr. Charles Gustafson, a specialty cardiologist from Colorado Springs, has offered to train PMC staff to conduct performance checks on pacemakers.  Fairchild said the only cost for the three days will be for food and accommodations for the staff, as there is no charge for training, and a pacemaker manufacturer will donate the test equipment.  The CEO said this service will help eliminate costly trips to Colorado Springs or Denver to have the devices tested.  Credentials were approved through Allied Health for Meagan Hillman, PA-C; Mary Shy, FNP; Anne Bradley, ANP and Cheryl Chestnut, FNP-C, CNM who will be able to order ancillary services at PMC for their patients, and a 90 day extension was approved on credentials for Dr. Wayne Hudson.  1,286 area residents took advantage of PMC’s health fairs so far this year, according to COO Karen Bryant, who reported that $4,000 was raised at the PMC golf tournament for the June Relay for Life event.  Board member, R.N. Candy Ruedeman,  briefed members on the medical tent PMC will staff during the softball World Series games in Lamar this August.  She said PMC medical personnel will volunteer their time during the 31 games to make sure the tent is staffed and equipped to handle on-site medical needs of the spectators and teams.   Mike Bryant, stated the Foundation by-laws of the hospital have been reviewed and approved by the Foundation attorney, Darla Scranton Specht.  He said they will be submitted to the IRS for action and said he expects a four to eight week turnaround that they have been received,and up to eight months for approval.  The by-laws are needed to receive 501c3, non-profit status, but the Foundation can conduct fund raising activities and receive grants from sources other than governmental.  Any tax deferments for donations would be postponed until the Foundation receives its non-profit status.  The board also voted to approve the Cooperation Agreement with the Lamar Development Authority on condition of removing a subordination clause in the contract.

Chief Financial Officer, Randy Nightengale, reported than PMC net income for April was $30,988 and had been budgeted at $33,220.  Gross patient revenue for April was $3,074,501, $609,713 less than budgeted.  April expenses were $1,808,302 and had been budgeted at $1,127,634.  He stated the hospital can expect several Medicaid payments in the neighborhood of $200,000 for the next several months, a rebate on overcharges made to the hospital earlier this year.

By Russ Baldwin


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