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The resignation of Dr. Scott Bland, an update on COVID 19 and other virus cases being seen and financials trending the wrong direction in several areas were the main topics of discussion at the regular monthly meeting of the Ringgold County Hospital’s board of trustees, Monday, October 18.
Dr. Bruce Ricker, chief of staff, announced the resignation of Dr. Scott Bland with his last day seeing patients December 26.
Ricker indicated medical staff would be affected by the resignation, which follows Ricker’s retirement slated for the end of the year as well.
With the recent resignation and retirement announcements of two doctors, hospital administrator Joe Mangiameli also asked that the board approve contracting a recruitment firm noting family practice providers are harder to secure for rural areas. He also indicated a recruitment firm could expedite the search. After a brief discussion the board approved a motion to go forward to secure a recruitment firm.
Reporting on hospital and clinic care, Ricker stated there had been a up and down surge in COVID 19 cases with the last two hospitalized cases having been vaccinated. Practitioners are also seeing RSV and Rhinovirus more, including adults. Typically these viruses are seen more in children. Ricker indicated testing is more specific with new equipment which could account for the greater variety of viruses being diagnosed and some of those being found in non typical age groups. Ricker did state a surge in flu cases is also expected for this winter/flu season.
Missy Walter, CFO, presented the financial report for the month showing net patient revenue trending down, short by $78K despite inpatient and skilled days higher than budget. Several departments generated less than budgeted revenue, including surgery, scopes, ortho joint implants, CT, mammography, vascular and Senior Life Solutions. Senior Life Solutions came in under budget by $117K due to a budget set to include a second track of service which has not yet begun. Gross overall revenue was short $186K with total operating revenue at $2M for the month. Non operating revenue was $34, 536.22 which included a COVID SHIP grant.
On the expense side, salaries and wages were over budget by $2.6K, benefits were more than double due to run out claims costs paid to Wellmark and an error of drug claims paid in error by UMR which is expected to be reimbursed. Contract labor was up in RT, lab and imaging and supplies were down resulting in total operating expenses coming in over budget by $163K. Year to date bottom line is a loss of $619K. A negative cash flow and debt service coverage percentage way below the required amount rounded out the financial picture for the month.
“Tightening belts and buckling up” is the direction indicated by Mangiameli in his presentation to the board. Mangiameli touched on controlling expenses and pointed out the positives of an uptick in clinic visits and a significant jump in patient days as reported by Walter in the financial report while stating the hospital is still in a recovery period.
Updating the board on operational plans, Mangiameli said he is working hard with staff on accountability to behaviors, the basics of patient care and is assessing daily behaviors and having conversations as needed to ensure staff understands the importance of behaviors. He went on to outline patient expectations of being “treated well,” not just medically but personally.
Concluding the regular meeting, the board went into executive session as per Iowa Code 2013, section 21.5.