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MHLC settles Cleary lawsuit

POSTED January 20, 2017 2:13 p.m.

LAFAYETTE COUNTY - The Lafayette County Hospital Committee came out of closed session at their Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 meeting and approved Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County (MHLC) funding $100,000 to settle the Dr. Cleary non-compete lawsuit with FHN Memorial Hospital, Freeport, Ill. No other information was offered at the meeting.
    According media sources, FHN officials alleged that Cleary’s job with Family Health of Lafayette County (now MHLC Primary Care/Darlington) violates a clause prohibiting him from practicing within 25 miles of FHN locations in Freeport, Warren and Stockton for three years. The settlement avoids a bench trial in Illinois that was scheduled for Jan. 23, 2017.
    Molly Wiegel, Finance Manager went through the financials for December 2016: Accounts payable approved - $550,252. One capital item purchased – sink for OR dirty room - $5,105. Account balance written off to charity care - $23,695. The Cash balance for the end of Dec. $1,743,694. Wiegel has been pursuing a new credit card provider for all the clinics. The committee approved going with Clear Pay of Waukesha, a terminal based credit card system.
    Chikowski reported Amy Tibbits, PA from Mineral Point area started Jan. 13. The committee approved creating a Certified Medical Assistant position to give staff support to the new PA and other mid-levels. There is also a verbal agreement with a Nurse Practitioner that will be starting in March, 2017.
    Family Health – Chikowski stated, “We’re working together, we’re looking at all the processes. Going from a private clinic to provider based clinic as a department to the hospital is a different animal. There are some changes and compliance issues. We’re meeting with the staff weekly. We’ve gone into all of the clinics and set up all the examine rooms so they are all identical.
    The committee approved a name change for the Family Health of Lafayette County clinics. The new names will be MHLC Primary Care/Darlington; MHLC Primary Care/Shullsburg and MHLC Primary Care/Argyle.
    Nursery build-out – the hospital case management/conference room is complete and was certified by inspection. Respiratory therapy will be moving into the space case management was in and eventually the business office will occupy the upstairs former nursery wing of the hospital.
    The new IT director Jon Fechner, by all accounts, is doing well and staff say he’s a pleasure to work with.
    An affiliation between Unity Point Meriter and MHLC has been established. This relationship allows MHLC to implement Epic software at MHLC. A meeting is scheduled for the week of Feb. 20, 2017. The hospital is looking at what equipment will need to be updated prior to the implementation.
    Continuing on the Unity Point Meriter – Chikowski stated, “An agreement will be signed. Both parties believe it’s in their best interest to have a closer relationship. Meriter is not looking to buy MHLC, they are looking to provide us with services. The agreement is for two years and Meriter receives a base affiliation fee of $85,000 per year. For that, MHLC gets the purchasing power of a large hospital; additional clinical education and leadership development; clinical daily operations expertise; critical access transfer and network agreement services; they will do a quality assurance review with a written report to the hospital committee, at no cost; a quarterly meeting with the president and CEO of Meriter looking at strategic items and continuing education. The main point of this agreement is it gives MHLC the ability to buy Epic (at a reduced cost), you must be an affiliate of theirs to get Epic at the price quote that they have given us.” The last word - Meriter will be strengthened, as MHLC will be a feeder source for them (for the procedures that can’t be performed at MHLC).
    A motion was made by Bob Boyle and seconded by Jack Wiegel to approve the affiliation contract with Unity Point Meriter. The motion was approved unanimously.
    An update to the current by-laws were approved, The update includes: definition of an employee; clarification that MHLC can work with employed providers; liability limits were changed to $1 million - $3 million; employment language, specifically contracts with the physicians; deleted OB services, as the hospital does not providing non-emergency OB services, if the hospital ever goes back to providing OB services, it just requires an update to put it back in; changed language regarding physician privileges at the hospital and tied it to quarterly bonuses.

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