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by Brenda Grose
Revised timelines for the proposed retail pharmacy and expansion for the Senior Life Solutions program, added services in the visiting physician’s clinic and a new physician signed to begin practice August 2021 all headlined business discussed Monday, July 20 at the Ringgold County Hospital Board of Trustees regular monthly meeting.
After being put on hold during the initial Covid 19 pandemic, the process has begun for the construction expansion to house a new retail pharmacy and additional area for the current Senior Life Solutions program. It was roughly estimated the bid process and additional work to be done before construction begins could take six to eight weeks. Gordon Winkler, CEO, stated the ability to get the job completed in a timely fashion and within budgeted costs looked favorable at this time. With regard to retail pharmacy projections, rental income to be received along with additional 340B income should provide a positive net income to RCH.
Julie Nichols, Regional Program Director, and Deb Robertson, Senior Life Solutions director have compiled information on the two-track program proposed to be put in place following completion of the construction expansion to house the mental health program. As stated in earlier meetings, the need continues. A waiting list for the service continues to grow. While Deb Robertson, has announced her retirement effective August 21, interviews have already been held and a candidate has been selected for Robertson’s position. The position will be offered this week and if accepted the candidate will spend time with Robertson to orient to the program and ensure a smooth transition for staff and clients.
The visiting physician’s clinic has added an extra day for dermatology appointments which can now be scheduled both the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Also with the visiting physician’s clinic, Dr. Matt Raecker began seeing patients in ophthalmology clinic and has identified several candidates for cataract surgery. Surgeries will be performed at RCH. The hospital is finalizing an agreement with a mobile equipment vendor and has identified a need to purchase an interocular lens machine which measures the dimension of eyes for selecting appropriate lens. A pre-owned machine was found for $9,985 and received board approval Monday night for purchase. Cataract surgeries will begin in September. More news in the visiting physician’s clinic area is a master service agreement being considered with Rural Partners in Medicine to purchase Southern Iowa Orthopedics. This agreement will bring a lower cost of orthopedic joints and give access to other orthopedic services not provided by Dr. Homedan, orthopedic surgeon for the visiting physician’s clinic.
Dr. Bruce Ricker, chief of staff, shared that an agreement had been signed between RCH/Mount Ayr Medical Clinic and Dr. Scott Bland, D.O. for Dr. Bland to begin practice in August 2021. Dr. Bland will complete his residency in July 2021. Dr. Bland and his family plan to reside in the Mount Ayr area.
In other information shared by Dr. Ricker, positive feedback is being received from patients on the current policies in place to comply with Covid 19. Patients reported feeling safe when visiting both the clinic and hospital and are impressed with the masking and hand washing procedures implemented in both areas. Ricker added surgical masks, gowns, disinfectants, wipes, hand sanitizers, and other protective equipment continue to be received.
Rounding out the meeting, Missy Walter, CFO, reported gross revenue for inpatient services was ahead of budget by $58,000 while outpatient and clinic revenue fell short of budget. An entry on the expense side for potential IPERS liability caused expenses overall to be over budget. The month ended with a net loss of $183,000. Year to date, pre-audited results show a bottom-line profit of $286,173. Overall, the hospital has continued to do reasonably well in the Covid climate, with PPP (payment protection plan) money applied for and received in the amount of $1,932,100. This money is currently considered a loan at 1% interest; however once the loan forgiveness application is submitted, the loan is expected to be converted to a grant and the interest rate will not apply. The PPP date has been extended to December with applications for converting loans to grants already being accepted.
In miscellaneous business, Winkler reported the resignation of Rob Stackhouse as maintenance department head. A replacement is being sought for the position. Danny Weeda, maintenance employee, will be serving in the interim as contact person for the department.