The following is a report on the Jan. 22 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Hermann Area District Hospital:
The Hermann Area District Hospital Board of Directors had their regular meeting on Monday evening, Jan. 22, 2018. The Board reviewed statistical and financial data for the year that just ended. Most services were slower than in 2016 because of tighter federal budgets, changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, and a loss of medical providers.
Patient visits in the rural health clinics were down for the year by 2,100 visits or 8 percent less visits than in 2016. Emergency room visits for the year were down by 7 percent while in-patient activity was down by 15 percent as compared to 2016. All of these factors resulted in a $900,000 drop in net patient revenue and yielding a 5-percent loss as compared to net patient revenue or a $850,000 loss for the year.
The hospital staff continues to work with the consulting company to determine what will be necessary for our rural hospital, as well as others in similar positions, to continue to remain independent organizations. Across the state independent rural hospitals run behind urban healthcare systems with a 10 percent smaller net income due to reimbursement variances favoring higher volume urban organizations.
The hospital continues to recruit physicians to join the existing practices and support the nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Ellen Schaumberg was able to work with the US Health Resources and Services Administration to re-designate Hermann Medical Arts as a National Health Service Corp. site, which means there is a high need for medical providers in Gasconade County. This is a great assistance in the recruitment process by helping the doctors and other medical providers with their student loans.
Dr. Michelle Neblock will be joining the hospital staff in April and seeing patients at Southwest Medical Associates. We have a couple more physician interviews in the near future.
The Board also discussed the options of how to replace Hermann Medical Arts assuming that FEMA will allow the City of Hermann to buy out the clinic on Sixth Street. The hospital will be issuing a letter to our patients and the community to keep them informed of the changes going on with providers and the current difficulties in recruitment due to the physician shortage.
Mat Reidhead was the only person that filed for his current seat so there will not have to be an election in April. The Board feels very fortunate to have a person with Mr. Reidhead’s knowledge and experience in healthcare policy.
The Board reviewed the status of the Missouri Opioid Prescription Monitoring Program, which is being run by the St. Louis County Health Department. While not all counties are participating yet it is proving to be an effective tool for physicians.
On Dec. 29 a dedication ceremony was held to dedicate the surgery waiting room in honor of Dr. George Workman for his years of dedicated service to the Hermann Area District Hospital and this community. Dr. Workman left a legacy of caring.
The Board reviewed the Annual Report that was prepared by hospital staff as a recap of departmental accomplishments over this past year and plans for 2018. Besides being a useful tool, this is a mandate by Critical Access Hospital Regulations. The Board reviewed multiple quality indicators that are reported to several organizations, ranging from the federal government, the state, and insurance companies, as well as our internal investigations.
The Board is also responsible for the oversight of the home health agency and their increasing rules being mandated by the federal government. The Board was appraised of the status of the conversion to Cerner for the hospital and clinics electronic medical record. The Cerner system is scheduled to go live in June of this year.
Based upon a recommendation from the Medical Staff, the Board approved Dr. Mozow Zuidema, Cardiology, for Consulting Staff Privileges. Dr. Zuidema is a new Cardiologist working at the Missouri Heart Center The Board also reviewed a list of Medical Staff Officers and Directors that the staff elected in their Jan. 9 meeting. Dr. Michael Rothermich continues as the President of the Medical Staff, Dr. Donald Swayze was elected as Vice-President, and Dr. Michael Mahoney was elected as Secretary/Treasurer.
The Board approved two agreements. An agreement with the 3M Company to provide electronic up-to-date ICD-10 coding for medical records and billing. This service is 75 percent funded by a federal grant that is only given to small rural hospitals. An agreement with Rural Sleep Solutions was also approved to offer short-term assistance in preforming sleep studies.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned.