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In a short regular meeting for Ringgold County Hospital’s Board of Trustees, Monday, May 17, updates on construction completion, changes in COVID 19 testing and vaccinations procedures and more information on the PTO (paid time off) buy back program for employees were all discussed.
Dr. Bruce Ricker, chief of staff, reported the drive up COVID testing station will be ending as of May 21, in response to the dropping numbers of requests for the testing. On the vaccination side, Mount Ayr Medical Clinic staff have begun opening one vial of the Moderna vaccine per day which provides 10 doses of the vaccine. The vaccine will be available to anyone requesting it when visiting the clinic.
Ricker stated, “We are hoping to increase the immunization rate further by offering the vaccine this way.”
He went on to remind the board that vaccines are available for anyone 18 and over. Teenagers will be referred to the Public Health office for vaccines due to the population size and those vaccines will be the Pfizer vaccine. Becky Fletchall at Public Health will offer a sign up list and will schedule those requesting the vaccine. In response to a question from board member Eddie Daily regarding any differences in the different pharmaceutical companies offering the COVID vaccine, Ricker said, “All the vaccines are similar and tend to work the same.” However, Ricker added, “Women under the age of 50 should probably not take the Johnson and Johnson vaccine due to the blood clotting issues.”
In closing his report, Dr. Ricker gave the board a July 5 start date for Dr. Scott Bland, the newest physician to join the staff at RCH and Mount Ayr Medical Clinic. Dr. Bland will work Monday through Thursday, 10 hour days and will be off on Fridays.
Regarding the PTO buyback program for RCH and MAMC employees, Missy Walter, CFO explained this specific program is for employees to get paid for PTO hours they have accrued and to avoid losing hours of PTO that exceed the maximum carryover hours allowed. During the COVID 19 pandemic, many employees were unable to take their PTO as they were needed to work during that time. Walter went on to state several employees maxed out their PTO carryover amount and this program could help bring down PTO numbers. Up to 80 hours will be allowed to be cashed in and will be paid out at a discounted rate. Employees will additionally be required to maintain 80 hours in their accrual rate after the buyback. Stimulus money can and will be used to fund this buyback of PTO as it is a justified expense directly related to the pandemic. When asked to explain policy regarding this buyback and if this is something that would be a regular policy, Walter stated that while stimulus money is available for this particular buyback situation and policy does allow it, she does not expect the hospital to have the ability to do this again for quite awhile.
Walter also presented her income statement report highlighting key numbers summing up financials for the month of April. Inpatient and clinic revenue both fell short of budget, while out patient revenue was up. Short revenue on the clinic and inpatient hospital side was explained as Walter noted skilled days at 27 (9 days short of budget) and clinic visits short by 100. Total gross revenue was $2.7M. Net patient revenue came in at $1.4 M with salaries and wages under budget, benefits over budget due to insurance claims and contract labor over due to extra help in the lab. Walter also stated going forward there will be extra contract labor in radiology as well as lab, so that trend is expected to continue. Fees and other supplies were under budget, with drugs over budget due to orthopedic and chemotherapy costs. Expenses as a whole were under budget by $34,000 resulting in a net loss of $266,000 for the month and a net gain year-to-date of $141,000. Walter discussed the cash flow showing a lot of spending as building expenses are being paid out of existing PPP money until the projects are completed and financing is finalized. It was pointed out by Walter that waiting to finalize the financing package until all work is complete, as well as breaking the projects into three separate finance packages, as per advice from Seim Johnson, will reduce cost.
Walter and Mitzi Hymbaugh filled in for administrator Gordon Winkler and gave a report on various items.
The sale of lot number six of the Shellway/Dunning property owned by the hospital is in process. The buyer has received all documents and the purchase will be on the agenda for the June board meeting.
Giving a construction update, Walter listed completed items including windows, drive up window for the pharmacy, brick and mortar and parking lot and cement, dirt work and seeding, installation of the Medicap sign and flooring. The COVID shed has been ordered and will soon be installed and a fire marshall inspection for the Medicap pharmacy is scheduled.
Grand opening for the new on site retail Medicap pharmacy is planned for May 26, pending fire marshall approval. Walter did note the phone number listed for the new pharmacy does not have the usual 464 prefix due to the inability to get a new number with that prefix. Customers should be assured that the listed number is correct. Pharmacy hours will be Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m -1:00 p.m.
Hymbaugh finished up the meeting with a report on Hospital Week that was just celebrated. Monday the new fountain pop machine was unveiled, Tuesday was a collage of employees through the years and games for employees, Wednesday the managers/department heads provided breakfast for employees, Thursday was a sock hop going with the 50’s theme where staff sported funky socks and Friday was the annual employee cookout. She reported good participation for this event to celebrate the hospital, clinic and staff.