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Hospital ponders, “What is a day?”

POSTED September 6, 2017 4:03 p.m.

LAFAYETTE COUNTY – Jack Sauer, chair of the Lafayette County Hospital Committee, called the meeting held Thursday, August 31 at 10:00 a.m. to order.
    In a complicated issue that came before the committee to consider, there was much discussion back and forth.
    The issue is as follows: The providers signed contracts with the hospital and/or clinic when the hospital bought out the clinic. The contract did not specifically spell out what a day was (eight or ten hours) in the contracts. The item was brought to Lafayette County Human Resources (HR) committee and they defined a day as eight hours for a county worker, not ten hours, which the providers had assumed, since they had always worked ten hour days.
    According to Matt Solverson reducing a day (from ten to eight hours) for the providers will affect their compensation. Specifically it will decrease their time-off pay (vacation, sick, paid holidays, etc.) by one-fifth. Solverson thought the providers wanted to hear a proposition from the county to the providers to resolve this conflict.
    Julie Chikowski said, “I know the doc’s do a lot of work on their off-hours, but their compensation reflects that. There is a lot of paid vacation in those contracts, a lot of vacation that wasn’t there before. I think our providers are doing a great job and I’m excited about what’s happening here.” Solverson said, “I think it would be reasonable to look at the contracts and see how they are worded. It’s probably in the county’s interest to negotiate with the providers in closed session about this.”
    The current contracts will be sent to the Hospital Committee members for review and put on the next agenda for discussion and action and then the item will go on to HR for consideration and approval, if an agreement can be shaped.
Staff Updates
    Hired two Nurse Practitioners - Megan Fleege and Lucas Suthers; Pharmacist Kristen Osterday; Two Medical Assistants - Tianna Griffen and Liz Laffenburg; New Orthopedist – Dr. Dopf; RN Supervisor Cary Chambers.
Financial
    Molly Wiegel, Finance Manager presented the financial report. Wiegel started with the income statement. The Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County (MHLC) year-to-date shows a loss of $47,298, which is within 64% below expected budget loss of $132,598. Net revenues from services are over budget by 3% at $9,802,236 and total expenses are also over budget by 3% at $9,930,027. Wiegel said, “I’m pleased with these numbers, especially the year-to date loss being 64% below what we expected.”
    The hospitals cash is at $1,621,444 at the end of July, that’s up $100,626 in June. Accounts receivable for the hospital- $5,018,114 and for the clinic - $538,117. Statistics year-to date include total joints – 15, down one from 2016; observation hours – 2,788, up 440 from 2016; swing bed days – 359, down 69 from 2016 and acute bed days – 291, down 124 for 2016.
    Primary Care Clinics summary: year-to-date – total visits 12,262, with 1,881 in July; total gross charges are $1,288,913, which is 23% over budget and total expenses is $1,390,377, which is 22% over budget.
    The committee also approved the projected 2018 MHLC budget. This is due to be sent to Finance by Sept. 18, 2017 for approval. The projected budget shows an operating net income for 2018 of $134,053. Chikowski said, “I think we have been conservative in our revenue projections, we have been forthcoming in our expense projections, we have put additional employees in there, including additional compensations and many other items. It was also stated that Rural Health status is included in the budget. Chikowski thanked Molly Wiegel for all her work on the budget.
Loan Summary
    Loan summary is the same as it was at the last meeting: Clinic – the hospital took out a promissory note for $1,300,000 for the clinic purchase, of the $1,300,000 the hospital has used $1,159,853 towards the purchase of the clinic and clinic related purchases and have $140,147 left to spend. Similarly, the Epic loan of $1,400,000 has $876,473 left to spend. The hospital is making quarterly ‘interest only’ payments on the loans at this time and will start making $17,000 monthly payments in Feb. 2018.
    In other business:
    Taking bids for redoing the roof at the hospital. The budget for the roof is approximately $100,000.
    •Anticipating Rural Health Clinic status for Shullsburg and Darlington by April 2018 at the latest. Argyle Clinic will not be considered at this time.
    •EPIC is on track to go live Nov. 5 & 6, 2017.
    •New roof on MHLC building is on track to be worked on in Sept. 2017. The estimated cost for the roof is $106,000 and is being done by Custofoam Corp. of Mauston.
    •Solverson made the point that with the expansion at MHLC and Primary Care Clinics there is potentially ten new jobs that will be generated by the county’s health care industry.
    •The former dialysis space will be made into additional specialty clinic space and is in the budget.
    •Will be using the house that is on the MHLC campus for two offices and an additional conference room. Officially a motion was made to move Shelly Lange from her office at the Manor to the office at ‘the house’ - approved.
    •The committee is looking to move the out of the current clinic in Argyle to a new commercial space in Argyle. Solverson stated and the committee confirmed – there will be a clinic in Argyle. Chikowski said, “We are very committed to our patients in Argyle.”
    •Pain management equipment – new equipment at a cost of $10,574 was approved to purchase by the committee. Kathy Kuepers said “We can recoup the expense of the new equipment with three procedures and we have two scheduled at this time.”

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