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MHLC approves purchase of PCR testing equipment

DARLINGTON – The Hospital Committee meeting was called to order by chairman Jack Sauer on Tuesday, May 1 at 7:00 a.m. This meeting was held at the Multipurpose Building with Zoom teleconferencing.

Under Capital Budget Requests, CEO Kathy Kuepers explained, “We are looking to purchase Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing equipment. The equipment will allow the Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County (MHLC) to be able to do in-house testing for covid-19. Once in place there will be a 45-minute turnaround time for results. We have ordered it and not yet received it. There is a lot of backorder for this item. We are hoping to get it up and running in the month of May. It will be nice to be able to see if patients are covid-19 positive before procedures are done. The cost will not exceed $50,000.”

It was mentioned that this could be paid for with FEMA dollars or reimbursed with a 80/20 split.

Sauer said, “I would think they would reimburse us for that. I think it’s a piece we need. Everybody in the county is asking for more testing. I was hoping things could open back up quicker than everybody else. I saw yesterday in Wisconsin they had more new cases than any one day so far. I guess it’s not going in Wisconsin the way we would hope.”

Dr. Matt Solverson said, “Probably because more testing is being done.”

Kuepers said, “Hospitals around the nation have gone to testing all patients that are coming in for procedures. You can know in real time what the results are. That is the trend. Currently our tests go to the state lab or other labs and we get results back in two to four days.”

A motion was made and seconded to purchase the PCR equipment not to exceed $50,000 – approved.

Other Business

•Approved taking an employee who is C.N.A. to LPN rate of pay.

•Approved an additional $1.24/hour for the Lab Manager for taking over infection control duties. This will go to Human Resources and Finance for approval.

•Modify a resolution that paid providers can independently bill Memorial Hospital.

•Approved hiring a .6 full time equivalent (FTE) Licensed Clinical Social Worker (CLSW) at the Primary Care Clinics. Will cost $50,000 ($75,000 with fringes included), but the clinic will be able to bill for more than that. This will cover any mental health issues that come up at the hospital, for patients that aren’t going to other places for mental health treatment. This will go to Human Resources and Finance for approval.

•Approved separating out Respiratory Therapist manager position from Cardiac Rehab and remove the 1.0 FTE Respiratory Therapist manager position and replace it with a 0.6 FTE Cardiac Rehab Program Director. This will allow the hospital to not have to contract the respiratory therapist from the co-op. It wasn’t clear if this will go to Human Resources and Finance for approval.

•Approved draft financials for 2019. Molly Wiegel went over the financials and pointed out these numbers could change, depending how the hospital retirement account is doing. 2019 year-end was at $1.1 million, compared with 2018 which had a loss of $84,000 (this included a negative entry of $127,000 for the retirement). So to compare pre-retirement of 2018 (+$43,000) to pre-retirement 2019 (+$1.100,000) would be apples to apples.

Wiegel said the volume of patients seen in 2019 was much higher than 2018.

Feb. of 2020 was down $30,000. Wiegel is expecting a rough few months, due to conditions in the world of medicine right now.

•Approved purchasing a refurbished electromyogram (EMG) machine at $17,950.

•Approved audit of the bills.

•New appointment – Dr. Donald Hay, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) and Dr. Vic Toney, physician assistant-certified (PA-C) specializing in orthopaedic. Both were approved by the committee.

•Approved authorizing administration to refill a LPN or CNA position for an employee that has left MHLC.

•Approved Epic training for Primary Clinic RN, Specialty Clinic Manager and Hospital Registration, would be paid $1.50 per hour for training period.

•Discussed the Argyle Clinic. Landscaping is complete. Did the final walk through this week. Final cleaning will done next week. Likely will be doing business mid to end of May in Argyle. In the future the committee is looking at selling the old building.

•Long Range Strategic Planning was discussed. Not losing site of new hospital facility. Tentatively planning a public meeting by the end of Summer.