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Attacking comments brought up at Hospital meeting
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DARLINGTON – Dr. Matt Solverson was concerned over comments made on social media that made personal attacks against him and asked the Hospital Committee for clarification at the meeting Tuesday, May 22.
Earlier this week, a Lafayette County Board Supervisor’s wife, and former employee of MHLC, made a comment on another person’s Facebook page attacking Solverson, commenting that, “Dr. Solverson is the one lacking competence. He clearly is clueless, lacks leadership skills (as evidenced by both EMS and his clinic issues) and on a personal note is a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
“I want to address the county board and make sure that if that is the view of the county board then I have concerns with my employment. It is a statement from the wife of a county board member and my question is that the view that’s going on within the county
 because I am your employee,” Solverson expressed.
“What Matt is looking for is assurances from this committee that we believe in him as a physician and we believe in his competence and we believe in his integrity,” MHLC CEO Julie Chikowski added.
Members of the committee all voiced their support for Solverson.
Jack Sauer stated that the comments were stemming from the “hoopla about Rural Medical”. He added that he felt there is only one person to blame for everything that has happened at Rural Medical and Jack addressed that issue at the Lafayette County Fair Committee meeting last October. He voiced his support for the current Rural Medical Ambulance Service Board members and believes “they knew what they were doing and knew what they had to do”.
Bev Anderson disagreed with Sauer stating, “It was always a policy with City Council to let people working for the city be EMTs and go when they needed.”
“But one that works for the City of Darlington was the reason Rural Medical fell,” Sauer interjected.
“And they should never have let him be paid while being on call; he was double dipping, but I don’t think it is just one person but a bunch,” Anderson added.
Sauer continued, “He was double dipping and that was a felony but it won’t make the paper that it was a felony and the reason it won’t is because everyone is too much of a wuss to take that S.O.B. on other than me. He needs to be canned and get out of there.”
MHLC COO Kathy Kuepers tried to conclude the conversation with stating that, “I think it is very disturbing to know that we talk about children doing cyber bullying and I think it is very disrespectful when we are adults and are doing cyber bullying.”
Health Department Presentation
Lee Gill and Erin Hastert from the Lafayette County Health Department gave a presentation of their immunization objective for the county. They stated that the department needs to have 61% of children in Lafayette County up to date on their immunizations by their second birthday. Since 2013, numbers have declined in compliance. In 2018, they are at 53%; some of that number is attributed to the Amish community. Missed opportunities are huge factors they are experiencing. Well-baby visits, check-ups or injuries are opportune times for the Primary Care Clinics to administer those vaccinations.  They received a grant that would allow them to purchase a temperature controlled refrigerator this year for the Darlington Primary Care Clinic to be used for vaccinations in conjunction with the health department. The Health Department and the Primary Care Clinics would then collaborate and increase service in the area to help benefit the county.
The concern from Chikowski and Kuepers was if the Rural Health Clinics of Darlington and Shullsburg were to start on this venture, the would need to add more staffing or they would be out of compliance with their Rural Health Clinic Status.
Gill added that this is the only clinic that has not collaborated with its county’s health department.
Ludlum asked if there was a way to make the Amish more aware.
Gill stated that she has spoken to different Amish communities and some are in favor of immunizations while others are still reluctant but the conversation has started
“We do support this but the committee needs to know we need to ask for additional staff. If we offer this in our clinics we need to offer it all of the hours we are open,” Chikowski explained.
Hastert added that the grant money would not be able to be used past June of this year.
Sauer asked if they accepted the refrigerator, could they start with implementing it in January 2019. Gill stated that it will take time to order the refrigerator, along with any training so yes it would be possible.
“I appreciate you coming to us with this. This is great. This will provide more care in the community. We may be able to ease some anti-vaccinators back with being able to offer it at different times,” Solverson said. 
“I ask that if we agree on accepting the refrigerator then the committee would need to commit to more support and staffing in the clinics,” Chikowski added.
“It will be great if we can become a full stop-shop,” Sauer added.
The committee will add this item for action on the next agenda.
Other Business
The Hospital Committee also discussed:
-a raise request of $0.58 from Kuepers for a employee at the Primary Care Clinics who is learning a new position requesting referrals and prior operations for patients and would be a fill-in for when the current employee in that job goes on vacation. This is a mid-cycle request and there was the comment made that there will be no more raises this year. Kuepers understood that but she commented that as business is growing they didn’t anticipate the need for this position and it is a concern with the timeliness that the job entails. She added how this position would be a return on the investment and would eventually profit the clinics and the hospital. A suggestion was to put this in the budget for next year and then give the employee the extra raise retroactively or to place the employee in training and create and reclassify the position. Kuepers was asked to go back to the individual and see what would work best.
-suggestions from the FAA on the hospital’s helipad to make it safer for Medflight or any other air transport to land. Head of maintenance at the hospital, Jim Pahnke stated that the FAA suggested placing lights on the edges of the hospital that protrude. He received a quote from Flight Light of $3,714 for just the minimum number of lights. He also had Norse Electric place a bid to wire the lights for $7,550. The hospital committee agreed to request other bids for electrical.
-their frustration with the Argyle Clinic. Anderson and Homer Evenstad wanted to know when the tone changed from the village board. Sauer felt that the village doesn’t want them in the lots they are trying to get into. He was having trouble with the planning and zoning commission in the village and the building inspector. Sauer wasn’t sure where they were at that moment but would keep pursuing getting the new clinic built. Chikowski stated that they own the current building, have mitigated the water issue, and can continue to serve their patients until they find a spot that will allow them to build a bigger clinic. The biggest concern is to continue to serve the people of Argyle and they are doing that now.
The Hospital Committee Board also approved:
-Greenleaf Media to update and modernize their website for $22,015 for three years. The hospital IT has budgeted $25,000 for this.