by Eric Mullens
WALSENBURG — The Huerfano County Hospital District Board of Directors met in regular session Thursday, Feb. 22 and approved some policies and heard from department managers.
The board approved a code of conduct policy and, with a slight revision, also approved their conflict of interest and disclosure acknowledgement for 2018. Policies regarding education and training, enforcement and discipline and the ethics and compliance program policy will be reviewed by board members and action is expected on these at the regular meeting at the end of this month.
Hospital President/CEO Kay Whitley’s report was made through a Power Point presentation and covered a range of topics. Medicaid challengers, customer service, safety and security and the opioid epidemic were some of the items on Whitley’s agenda. In her report Whitley said the Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center continues to hold its Five Star Rating.
Whitley reported emergency rooms across the state are working together to lower opioid prescriptions. Some of the areas that are addressed in this effort include; training of ER staff on alternate medicines that can be used in lieu of opioids to treat pain and, directing physicians and nurses to discuss with patients the harms of opioids and what other treatment options that are available.
On the topic of the ambulance service, Whitley noted three paramedics are currently attending a critical care course, which when completed, will bring the total to five paramedics trained in critical care service.
Chief Clinic Officer Report:
Mary Cope, Chief Clinic Officer reported in the quality incentive program that safety huddles have been established throughout the facility to assist in meeting goals in the program. (The term safety huddles refers to a strategy to help nurses prioritize patient care and focus on patient safety, by providing opportunties to discuss any safety events that have occurred, how they happened, and how to prevent recurrences.) The culture of safety/patient safety is one of the measures we need to track and report, Cope said.
Cope reported Cindy Gutierrez has received notification she was nominated and voted as the Wilz Trauma Symposium Fire Starter Award.
Veterans living center director April Secor said in her written report to the board the daily census (population) at the facility was done somewhat in February with a monthly average of 93 residents. “The biggest impact was due to resident illness. I am happy to report we are on the mend, with no more resident identified as ill,” Secor said.
Secor said the next Quality Assurance Performance Improvement meeting will be held later this month.
She reported the search for a new Social Service Director / VSO has begun with the Roger Watkins retiring (for the second time) from the position. “We will miss him tremendously and wish him a happy leisurely retirement,” Secor said, “he deserves it.”
CFO Lionel Montoya’s January 2018 report indicated the bottom line financial activity was lower than budget and lower than Jan. 2017 at Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center. Net revenues were lower than expensed by $113,511 and lower than budget by $63,369.
His report said total expenses were $47,616 lower than budget in January, and $97,132 higher than Jan. 2017.
In January 2018, total patient days were lower than budget by 245 and were higher than Jan. 2017 by 237-days. Emergency Room visits were at 338, which is higher than budget by 12. January physician clinic visits were higher than budget b 42, and higher than Jan. 2017 by 269.