PMH Auxiliary is part of the team
Pocahontas Memorial Hospital Auxiliary President Jean Weatherholt presented the group’s annual report to the PMH board of directors at Thursday night’s meeting.
“Our sole existence is to keep this hospital open,” Weatherholt said. “Laffy Taffy, by Laffy Taffy.”
Weatherholt was referring to the new candy tower - offering old-time favorites - that has been added to the Auxiliary Gift Shop.
“The candy tower was a good investment,” she said. “Most of our money came through the Gift Shop.”
Weatherholt reported that $16,432 of that money was spent in the past year for new chairs, new upholstery, IV pumps, IV stands, Pulse Oximeters, dry eraser boards for patient rooms, a wide shower seat and, of course, stocking the shelves of the shop.
The auxiliary plans to participate in the upcoming Autumn Harvest Festival, but, for the first time in years, they did not participate in Pioneer Days.
“The booths were outside. You had to set up Friday, tear down, and set up again on Saturday,” Weatherholt said. “We’re too old for that.”
As the auxiliary begins a new year, they are looking for new members. The membership fee is $2 per year.
Board president Dr. Bob Must extended a “warm welcome” to new board member Walt Weiford.
“Thank you for considering doing the work and we’re happy to have you,” Must said.
Former board member Janet Ghigo was reappointed by the Pocahontas County Commission and began serving another term on Thursday.
The hospital finished its last fiscal year in the black for the first time in seven years, and the good news kept coming as Chief Financial Officer Chad Carpenter reported a monthly income for July of $135,640.
Group Health Insurance costs were down due to the state helping to pay the unfunded liability, Carpenter said. The cost dropped from nearly $40,000 per month to just at $4,000. But part of that line item savings was eaten up by Physician Fees as the facility had to utilize more of the services of ERX following Dr. Chase Ranson’s departure.
“We starting off pretty good for the new year,” Carpenter said.
“And for summer,” CEO Barbara Lay added.
The PMH Ambulance added its part to the coffers with a monthly income of $12,261, while the PMH Rural Health Clinic reported a slight loss of $5,284
That loss did not cause much concern as it was due in part to the June 29 storm, which put a damper on clinic visits, and providers were on vacation during the month, as well.
The billing department was also affected by the storm in the loss of Internet service for five days.
“It’s surprising that we had a profit for the month with low patient census and low payments,” Must said referring to the 3.60 average in-patient census.
Lay told the board that out-patient revenue was up for the month, with 629 visits reported.
Despite numbers in the black and PMH providing vital services to the community, Carpenter once again asked the board to approve a write-off of $88,333 to bad debt. This amount will be turned over to the Martin and Seibert collection agency.
The board has been asked to take this step, month after month, and since January 31, 2011 a total of $1,829,653.51 has fallen off the books due to non-payment of patients’ bills.
“The amount varies month-to-month,” Carpenter said. “Whatever hits the 120 days [unpaid bill] criteria.”
Lay reported to the board about organizational goal as well as efforts in recruitment and retention of providers. The hospital has also applied for another AmeriCorps VISTA who will help work toward “patient centered medical home designation.” A new Public Relations position is being added to the staff, and a new ambulance is on order and will be added to the fleet.
COO Terry Wagner reported on the importance of the “patient centered medical home designation,” which offers better managed patient care, rather than just treating symptoms as they appear.
“This will strengthen the patient-physician relationship,” she said.
Adding to PMH’s ongoing plan to offer more and improved services, CNO Kerry Ridgeway reported that there is now 24-hour respiratory therapy available. In addition, she would like to see more out-patients utilizing the pulmonary function services.
Ridgeway has worked closely with PMH staff and employees, putting Task Teams in place.
“Every action we take needs to be quality driven,” she told the board.
There have been numerous changes – a lot has been asked of the employees in the last six months, Must said.
He also wanted to know if the employees were showing signs of fatigue.
Ridgeway assured him that there were not.
Ward Clerk and Auxiliary member Sandy Stimpson commended Ridgeway on her efforts and her “open door policy.”
“We are going in the right direction, and we are getting there,” Stimpson said.
Board member Donald McNeel asked about services available for out-of state tourists and visitors to the county.
Lay said that all services are available to those folks. The hospital will accept orders from out-of state physicians and will FAX reports back to them for the patient’s record.
The board also addressed the hospital’s long-time monthly payment of $500 to the county commission to help pay for insurance coverage.
Board member and commission president David Fleming told the board that there was nothing in the commission records pertaining to an agreement with PMH about this payment and asked if the board wanted to continue as is.
After much discussion, the board agreed, from a public relation’s standpoint, to continue to contribute $500 per month toward the cost
Must thanked the board and staff for their “good natured participation.”
“It’s a good team,” Must said.
“And getting better,” Stimpson added.
The board meets again Thursday, September 27, at 6 p.m. in the hospital conference room.