PMC Receives Annual Audit, Ruedeman & Campell Leave Hospital Board



“The past two years as a PMC board member have been one of the most rewarding periods in my 40-plus year career in the medical field,” said Prowers Medical Center Chairwoman, Candy Ruedeman.   She and fellow board member, Marge Campbell, had their terms of office expire with the PMC board meeting on Wednesday, April 23.  Campbell declined to run for another term and Ruedeman is moving out of state.  They both commended their fellow board members for their efforts, working to help improve PMC.  Ruedeman remarked that she witnessed an improved atmosphere among the staff at the hospital, with more open lines of communication developing.  She added, “It started rough, but it’s ending well.”  Campbell said, “You won’t find a better board to work with,” and offered a word of advice for fellow board members, “Whenever you have a tough decision to make, just be sure it’s in the best interests of the patient, and you’ll never be lost.”  New board members, Connie Brase and Matt Snyder, will replace Ruedeman and Campbell at the May 28 meeting. 

The board heard an annual audit report from an independent firm based in Washington State.  Tom Dingus summarized several high points indicating that Prowers Medical Center is in better shape according to financial indicators than other rural service hospitals in the $10 to $20 million range.  The hospital still has good financial reserves with cash on hand at 81 days, which has been the norm for PMC for the past several months.  Dingus said assets are on a par from the year before.  He said there is a lag time on Medicare settlements with the hospital going back three years, amounting to $378,000 owed to PMC which might take months to settle.  Dingus said the best rule of thumb is to have the hospital make an estimate of either receivables or payables for the end of the year, and the hospital had to make a very minor adjustment to the true figures.  He also noted there was a $600,000 decrease over the year in operating expenses which was attributable to a loss in patient volume, about 9% less acute care days and 15-18% less clinic visits and lab visits from the last year which explained the net patient service revenue fall off.  Dingus noted that the Charity Care and Bad Debt financial report still runs high for PMC each year.   

Doug Harbour and Sharon Bullock from the Tri State 9/11 Tribute Committee briefed the board on the planned activities for the third observance to honor First Responders and area veterans.  They invited members of the PMC staff to take part in the September 13 event in Lamar this year, stating that the hospital plays an integral role through its Emergency Room staff and other medical providers working  in tandem with all the local responders in Prowers County and other portions of southeast Colorado. 

The board voted to finance a three day motivational seminar hosted by Joe Tye, author of the book, “the Florence Prescription”.  The presentation, involving various levels of hospital management and employees fosters a level of buying-in to the hospital’s mission and goals which helps transition staff from a level of accountability for their professional performance into a feeling of ownership for their position and for Prowers Medical Center. 

CEO Craig Loveless reviewed a meeting that he, Doctor Ray and Candy Ruedeman held with first year medical students at CSU, who might consider a rural based medical career following their seven years of formal training.  Loveless said scholarship options are available for students who commit to a three year term in a rural hospital, PMC, following their graduation.  Close to 35 students were on hand for the meeting which provided an overview of rural life in Prowers County.  Ruedeman described the differences between health care in rural areas, versus what the young doctors could experience in a city-based hospital.   This was the first meeting with the students provided by PMC representatives.  Loveless said this is taking a long view of hiring new doctors, as the career projections will be seven years out from their first year as doctors.

By Russ Baldwin

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