LAFAYETTE COUNTY - Jack Sauer, chair of the Lafayette County Hospital Committee called the meeting held Thursday, Oct. 13 to order.
The issue of a Letter to the Editor that appeared in last week’s Republican Journal came up. The letter was in regard to the purchase of Family Health of Lafayette County and asked questions about the endeavor. Matt Solverson, committee member and owner of Family Health and Julie Chikowski, Memorial Hospital Dept. Head said they invited the writer of the letter, Christine Douglas, to this meeting. Douglas was unable to attend, sighting too short of a notice and being too busy at her job (IT technician at the county). Chikowski said “We invited Douglas to the meeting to answer any questions or concerns she has with the purchase. We totally support everyone’s right to voice their concerns.”
Solverson added, “I wanted to be able to address her concerns. I do believe the sale will be good for the community and strengthen the medical economy here. It will be good for the future of Lafayette County. I truly believe in my staff at Family Health, I trust them and think they are of high character. In regards to her question about nursing, in the last two and a half years we’ve had a more advanced nurse - a Nurse Practitioner present to do the nursing procedures at the clinic. The economics of having nurses do the other jobs doesn’t make business sense.” He continued, “I do look forward to the county owning the clinic and being an employee of the county. I think it would be great to have all employees of the county support each other as county employees.”
Sauer said, “What I remember from the letter was the ‘hush and the rush’ part of the letter. I think a lot of people in the county don’t understand that the Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County is a county entity and is involved in a very competitive business. We don’t want our competitors to know exactly what we’re doing, because it will put us at a competitive disadvantage. As far as the ‘rush’, the Hospital Committee has been meeting on this for at least three months before it went to the county board.”
Solverson made another point, “A State of Wisconsin Rural Health paper I read, submits that 1.5 jobs are created in the county for every healthcare job, that puts an additional 300 jobs in the community. That supports jobs in Lafayette and it supports our tax base. So even if you’re not benefiting from the health care, the security and the lives saved in the emergency room, you still are benefiting from jobs created and the tax base.”
A mold issue apparently existed at the hospital (or not). The second certified inspection for mold at the hospital has come back and no mold was found. Members of the committee asked if the perception that mold was present at the hospital was unfounded? Chikowski said, “We’ve had two certified inspections and no mold was found.” The mold inspection cost the hospital $750.
The painting of the front of the hospital, which was slated to be done in September is underway. The power washing of the building was done Monday, Oct. 10. The painting has started Monday, Oct. 17.
A new pharmacist was hired. Kathryn Horst, from the Wausau area and has moved to Platteville to fill the position at the hospital. The current pharmacist will be done Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Horst has been orientating. Chikowski said, “We are very excited to have her, she’s doing a really good job.”
In other staff updates the hospital has offered a contract to a Nurse Practitioner, Amanda Addison. Addison has accepted the contract and will start Nov. 7, 2016. There are two more applications for nurse practitioner. The interest is thought to be because of an incentive package of $25,000 loan repayment for a mid-level Family Health providers, i.e. physician assistant or nurse practitioner. If the provider proves themselves after one year, they would be offered two more years, if they accept the two year commitment they would receive the bonus at the end of the second year.
The committee approved the hiring of Nanci Cherry, M.D. from Lancaster, who specializes in emergency medicine. She will be on call at the hospital’s emergency room facility.
In other business Chikowski made this report: Nursery Build-out Update – the HVAC is being installed, and as soon as the HVAC is in place we’ll start on the rest of the project; Strategic Planning – we are looking at how we will move forward next year. We have received a report from WIPFLi that describes the hardware needed to get up to speed for the EPIC project next year, in an effective manner. WIPFLi has also made some recommendations in separating off the IT at the hospital from the county’s IT; We continue to recruit; We are working to get the sale completed, by the end of this year, the appraisal will be completed by the end of October.
Cost Report Update – the state has approved the hospitals request to reopen two cost reports. There is a potential of receiving back an estimated $81,000 for 2012 and $86,000 for 2013.
After closed session the committee approved the hospital’s budget for 2017 and sent it to the Finance Committee.
Approved “to have” a resolution to create an IT Security Director position for the hospital that reports directly to the hospital administrator.