Selection of New Hospital Chief Delayed
With only three weeks between board meetings, St. Mary's was unable to complete a thorough screening of candidates for the Claiborne County Hospital administrator's position. Hospital board members were informed that individuals with suitable qualifications are scheduled for interview during the last week of February and the first week of March. After discussion, the board decided that, after considering all other business, to recess until March 11. On March 11, the board will hold a workshop to consider St. Mary's recommendation(s) for a new hospital administrator. Jack Bryan will continue as interim administrator until a new selection is made.
In other business, the board spent considerable time reviewing the financial report for the month of January. Winter is frequently the hospital's busiest time of the year but in-patient volumes were down significantly in January. Hospital planners expected to have a daily patient count with 28 beds filled each day; a delay in the onset of flu season left the hospital with only 22 beds filled (average) each day.
Despite an increase in emergency room visits and nursing home patients, the hospital lost money in January. Analysis of the financial report indicated that several measures to decrease billing errors were beginning to show results but that other cost saving actions are necessary to maintain the hospital's financial stability. Bryan reported that he has already had several discussions with hospital department heads about possible corrective measures. One of the actions approved by the board was a request to replace a surgical table in one of the operating rooms.
The board also heard a status report on the progress of the new medical office building. The building is nearing completion (only about a week behind schedule) with the last major task being to pave the parking lot. Asphalt paving requires warmer weather than we've experienced recently. The contractor expects that conditions will permit paving sometime during the next month.
During last month's meeting, the board had several questions about a possible interest free loan (used to help finance the medical office building) from the Powell Valley Electric Corporation. Clarification of issues was provided by Roger Ball (PVEC Board Chairman) and the hospital board authorized Bryan to sign the necessary paperwork concerning the loan