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Hospital Committee defends raises, agrees to terms
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LAFAYETTE COUNTY - Jack Sauer, chair of the Lafayette County Hospital Committee, called the meeting held Wednesday, Nov. 9 to order.
    Technical positions wage adjustments for Lab, Radiology and Nursing was approved at a previous meeting, but was brought back to this meeting, because several committee members have been hearing complaints.
    The hospital gave a 4% raise to all technical professional positions amounting to $102,000 per year. Julie Chikowski, Hospital Administrator, was asked to do a wage comparison of the surrounding hospitals, which showed the hospitals’ technical professionals below the low end of the scale. The 4% raise will get their wages up into the low end of the scale.
    Sauer asked to put this back on the agenda. Sauer said, “I have heard from businesses and residents in the county that complained to me. $102,000 is a lot of money and I realize we need to stay competitive. We’re in a catch-22, where we give the whole county a 33¢, but then certain workers in the county getting as much as $1.50 raise. It’s causing a lot of unrest amongst the rest of the employees, as it always does.”
    Molly Wiegel, Finance Manager and Dr. Matt Solverson, committee member, pointed out that a portion of the raises, the hospital will get back a percent from Medicare and Medicaid.
    Kriss Marion, county board member, said she is getting a lot of calls complaining about these raises. The public needs to know things that come up in these meetings that justify these raises. Such as the economic benefits of each county jobs supports/creates 1.5 other jobs in the county, and when you replace one nurse it costs $70,000 to train and get a new nurse in place.”
    Tony Ruesga, county board member, said, “Bottom line for me is employee moral. There are going to be tough decisions to be made. Do they deserve the raise, sure they do. But, Human Services, cleaning staff, etc. we have hard working people and they all deserve a raise. I don’t like employees saying we get this raise or we’re out of here. Sooner or later you’re going to have to say then you’re leaving.”
    Sauer said, “If this was a privately owned hospital the people wouldn’t care how much nurses got paid. I’ve had people say to me ‘if you think I’m going to support this hospital after you give them that raise, I’m not.’ Then they go to another hospital where the nurses are making much more that the hospital here. It doesn’t make any sense.”
    A roll call votes was taken to reaffirm the 4% raise for the technical professional positions at the hospital and it passed unanimously.
Proposed Acquisition of Family Health of Lafayette County and Family Health Land Company.
    A Letter of Intent document was passed out at the meeting. This document set forth the non-binding terms of the proposed transaction. The short version is as follows: Real Estate (which includes three clinics in Argyle, Darlington and Shullsburg) - $920,000; Assets - $160,749 equals the Purchase Price of $1,080,749. Solverson asked that there be two separate contracts – one for the real estate and one for the assets as they are two different entities.
    A closing date, title insurance, malpractice insurance was discussed. Nathan Russell, county board corporate council will handle the closing and Sauer wanted him to have a copy of the letter of intent as soon as possible.
    Bob Boyle, county board member and committee member, made a motion, it was seconded by Larry Ludlum, county board member and committee member, to approve the final letter of intent to purchase the assets and real estate of FHLC and Family Health Land Company. Motion carried.
    In other business:
    Chikowski introduced a 5% price increase for the hospital that will take effect Feb. 1, 2017. A motion was made and seconded, then approved unanimously.
    The committee approved paying the vouchers for $176,958.
    Staff updates – Chikowski said they have three interviews for Hospital IT Director. A second interview with a Physicians Assistant
    Mold issue – Chikowski reported there were requests to have an area in the hospital tested for mold. The first test was a hardware store test came back positive; the second test, from a certified firm came back negative. Another request for testing was received, and since there was one positive and one negative the hospital tested a third time and the test came back – no mold present. The third test cost the hospital $1,111.
     A non-qualifying Family Medical Leave Act was approved for Molly Wiegel, Finance Manager.