Another good month for Memorial Hospital

Published 11:35 am Friday, February 18, 2011

Memorial Hospital and Manor reported a positive net income of $494,723 for the month of January.

This is the second month in a row the hospital has reported a positive net revenue.

The financial troubles of the hospital, which have been duly noted in The Post-Searchlight over the last couple of years, are far from over, but key indicators presented to the board members for December 2010 and January 2011 have given a brighter picture than in the past.

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The current year-to-date income loss is $1,719.375 compared to the $2,142,575 loss year-to-date last year.

Salaries were down for January, in part due to a reduction in overtime hours paid by nearly one-half, as a result of better utilization of employees, according to acting interim CEO Billy Walker.

Brinson appointed to board

The board approved the appointment of Alesia Brinson to fill the board position vacated by the resignation of Mary Breedlove last year.

Brinson was selected from a slate of possible nominees proposed by the Decatur County Commission.

Brinson, recently named as one of the Women to Watch in Bainbridge Living, owns her own cosmetology business and is the founder and program coordinator of One on One Mentoring, targeted to at-risk middle school children, and is an active volunteer in civic affairs throughout the community.

Approval for leadership program

Co-CEO’s Walker and Cynthia Vickers reported their trip, along with Lee Harris and Jan Godwin, to Pensacola, Fla., where they learned about the Baptist Leadership Group Assessment program.

The program, which is said to have received national recognition for its increased employee morale and patient satisfaction, is being emulated by other hospitals in the country, apparently with good success, according to Vickers, who added that the training is not just a “feel good,” but is actually a total culture change.

The board approved paying $8,500, plus travel expenses, for the assessment team to come to Memorial Hospital and Manor to conduct an assessment. They will identify gaps, study the organization profile, conduct an online survey of employees and provide a detailed report, prioritizing areas for improvement.

Board member Glennie Bench commented, “This is an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves.”

Implementation can be conducted by the assessment group at additional cost, or can be done locally, following the guidelines provided.

Vickers also reported that the music therapy program, provided in conjunction through a grant received by Tallahassee’s Memorial Hospital, began last week. Therapist Stephanie Bryant comes twice a week to provide soothing, live music for patients.

Equipment purchases approved

The board approved the $11,750 purchase of a SchureMed-Surgical table chair to be attached to the surgery table, thus providing optimum position for shoulder surgeries. It was proposed that the addition of this equipment will allow for more orthopedic surgeries of this type to be performed at the hospital in Bainbridge, and just three more per year would pay for the new equipment.

Purchase was also approved for a $12,489 Zoll R-series replacement defibrillator. Currently, the medical-surgical department is using the emergency department’s back-up defibrillator. In keeping with the hospital’s policy of placing the newest equipment in areas where it will be utilized the most, this purchase will allow the ER to replace the second defibrillator while medical/surgical takes permanent possession of the loaner.

The board approved purchase of an additional C-Tap phone system coverage, extending the current contract for service and warranty and an ability to add new extensions, for a monthly cost of $4,690. Since the hospital entered into the C-TAp program following the lightning strike received in 2007, which damaged the phone system, they have saved approximately $48,936 in service costs.

Board members also voted to change the guidelines regarding the VALIC loan program, a 403B retirement plan for employees, wherein the hospital provides a 50 percent match up to 6 percent of employee contributions. After receiving feedback from employees who found the restrictions too strict, the guidelines now allow loans to be made from the employee deferral portion of the contributions, limited to available funds, provided the employee is not delinquent on any other loans with VALIC.

Acting board president, Charles Tyson, filling in for the absent president, Joe Livingston, appointed a nominating committee to select a new slate of officers. The committee comprised of Bench and Dr. Linda Jones, will be chaired by Johnny Grimsley.

Following the executive session, the board went back into regular meeting and voted to authorize Dr. Narlito Cruz to pursue opening a satellite allergy treatment office one day a week in Cairo, with the matter to be re-evaluated after six months to a year in operation.