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by Brenda Grose
Expansion and new construction is ready to go out for bid, regularly provided services (suspended due to COVID 19) are seeing a return to normal with precautions still in place and possible physician recruits all headlined the Monday, June 15th, meeting of the Ringgold County Hospital Board of Trustees.
Expansion and new construction comes with the immediate need for expanded services in the Senior life Solutions. According to Gordon Winkler, administrator, Senior life Solutions is beginning to see effects from the challenges of social isolation which has “really increased the need for additional therapy services.” Prior to COVID 19, the therapy sessions were already overflowing and it had been recognized that there was a need to create more space and provide more units of service. A larger footprint to the Senior Life Solutions space with an additional therapist would accommodate expanded therapy services. Winkler went on to state financial projections are currently being reviewed and requests for bids on the new construction are being finalized. Initially, expansion and new construction had been presented as one package; however, the projects may now be separated and done individually. The other major project within the new construction part of the original plan had included a retail pharmacy. It was indicated this project was still being continued as per conversation prior to the nationwide shutdowns due to COVID 19.
On another positive note, most services suspended during the mandated shutdowns have returned and are seeing good numbers. Most of the new requirements set for clinic and hospital patients and staff remain the same, however, the visitor policy was changed June 9th to allow 1 adult visitor per day (it must be the same person all day) on the med side of the hospital, while there are still no visitors allowed in the emergency department. Visitors are not allowed on the COVID hall and for COVID positive patients. Curbside patient visits are still available, there is no waiting in the lobby and screening is still required prior to entering the hospital or clinic.
The financial picture continues to reflect the receipt of stimulus funds with a positive bottom line of $64,796 for the month of May. The year to date bottom line is positive at $469,000. With the return to services it is anticipated financial numbers will follow an upward trend as before the mandated shutdowns.
Dr. Bruce Ricker, chief of staff, also had good news to share as the hospital continues to seek new physicians. Dr. Ricker and others spoke with a third year resident from North Carolina who is very interested in a possible position with RCH and Mount Ayr Medical Clinic. A site visit is anticipated in the near future as travel restrictions and concerns ease.
• Ringgold County Hospital is currently assisting Taylor County in COVID 19 testing.
• Clarinda and Creston locations are now Test Iowa areas.
• RCH is working with Clearview Nursing Home on some initial opening up of their facility in response to recent state directives.