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Hospital budget raises thoughts on pay increases

POSTED October 4, 2017 3:53 p.m.

DARLINGTON – When discussing the budget for Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County at the Hospital Committee meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, Chairman Jack Sauer commented that the pay raise increases in the budget would not be approved right away.
“When we approve to send this through, [the pay increases] are definitely not automatic; they still have to go to HR. I don’t see countywide going to be able to give salary increases this year. We shall see. We already turned down some that wanted to have it in their budget and that didn’t go over very well,” Sauer explained.
Hospital administrator Julie Chikowski stated that a majority of the increases were for certified trainers that learned the new EPIC system to train the rest of the hospital.
“These people went away for six weeks and are coming back to do training and will do ongoing training for all new staff. If we had to pay certified trainers, it would be $60 or $70 an hour. We need to keep our certified trainers.”
Kathy Kuepers said that those members were hired on as nursing staff and hospital staff and with becoming certified trainers, they were taking on a whole different role.
Dr. Matt Solverson added that those staff members were working three to four hours extra during the workday. He asked from a hospital standpoint, is it a concern from the rest of the county to just give raises to the hospital.
Sauer answered, “That seems to be it. I strived a few years ago on how to separate the hospital. It is a whole different animal as far as trying to deal with it without every other hospital knowing what you are doing. If you don’t do your raises here, you are in a very competitive business. It has a ripple effect in the county if you give raises here and no body else gets it. We still have to run a business here and keep our business here. It’s a tough juggling act.”
Financials
Molly Wiegel presented the hospitals financials at the meeting. The hospital has a net gain of $37,000. They budgeted a loss of $152,000 so it is better than budgeted. Revenue is over six percent of budget and the expenses are over four percent of budget. For the clinics, they have had 2,300 visits for the month of August.
Personnel
The HIM Manager resigned and the job was posted internally. The Lead Coder applied for the position. Chikowski stated that the wage range for the HIM Manager position was from $19-$21/hour. The Lead Coder currently is making $20/hour and Chikowski asked that the committee raise the wage to $22 because the Lead Coder would be taking on a whole other department along with still overseeing coding. Bob Boyle made the motion to raise the wage to $21.50 and Jack Wiegel seconded. The motion passed.
Old Business
Rural Health Clinic status is in good shape. Chikowski said how there are a few physical things that need to be done to the Darlington Clinic, such as a front door that is ADA accessible and signage for both Darlington and Shullsburg, then both those clinics would be close to complete.
They are having someone look at the Argyle clinic to make some plans for a possible optional site. Chikowski wanted to see what it would cost to build out on the current building with the owners giving them a 10-year lease versus building a new building in a different location.
A portion of the hospital roof will be getting worked and should be completed by Oct. 6. Chikowski said they budgeted $106,000 for the project and they expect to come in at or under budget. Custofoam Corporation is completing the roof.
It was brought up that the roof on the house is in need of some new shingles. Chikowski said that $20,000 has been budgeted in next years budget to be worked on.
Last weekend, the air handler over the ER quit working. The compressor needed to be replaced. It is a 12-year-old unit and should last up to 20 years. Chikowski said a new compressor would cost up to $9,000 A motion was made and seconded to purchase a new compressor.
A motion was made to post RFPs for design build for the dialysis space.

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