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Hospital board hears ‘happy’ financial news

The Hospital Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County appeared happy with the key indicators report of the financial condition, presented by Chief Financial Officer Karen Faircloth at their Tuesday meeting.

The report for September showed a net income of $98,615, and a year-to-date net income of $893,290 — compared to a $1,716,352 income loss reported last year-to-date.

Finance Committee Chair Glennie Bench commented, “Happy, Happy!” and added, “It has been a long time since we’ve seen these positive numbers.” Board member Joe Livingston commented on how the turn-around had been accomplished in a such short time frame, while CEO Billy Walker said, “It just goes to show what can be accomplished when everyone is on board and working together.”

The reference was to the continuing work of the hospital staff and administration with the Baptist Leadership Group on the “Bridge to Excellence,” developing performance-based measures of accountability for all staff and administration to bring about cultural changes in the organization.

The board approved the recommendation of the finance committee to retain the hospital’s bank accounts with Bank of the Ozarks, after doing a comparative study of the services it offered with those of other area banks. Cited as a critical advantage was the bank’s express-deposit service, which permits scanning of checks from the depositer’s location, thus eliminating the need to have a courier take them to the bank. It also involved the waiver of fees, especially the wire transfer fees.

The board was advised the administration has finished the review of personnel for the purpose of making the 3-percent annual merit pay increases that were included in the yearly budget, and the next paychecks would include those raises.

One capital equipment purchase was approved. It was for the renewal of a lease for the Omnicell automated dispensing cabinets located in the medical surgical and emergency departments. The cabinets are designed to provide ready access to medications in patient care areas and to control drug distribution. The current monthly payment is $6,817.50. By renewing all three leases in January for a 60-month period, the monthly payment will decrease to $4,953.58, resulting in a monthly savings of  $1,873.92 — a total savings of $112,223.70 over the 60-month term.

In the CEO report, Walker announced the renovation of office space at Memorial Medical Center on Wheat Avenue has been finished in 44 days — well below the 60 days listed in the contract.

Space planning for the Amelia Avenue buildings is progressing. Walker met with the architect and three physicians who will occupy space there. They are awaiting new drawings and he anticipates it will be between 12 and 15 months before moving in.

Walker further said the Baptist Leaders have recommended a bit of a slowdown on the work being done on the Bridge to Excellence project.

“They want to make sure we have a good, solid foundation to build on,” he explained.

Further plans were announced by Walker:

• Sessions on the standards of conduct expected from all employees will be conducted in November. All employees and all interviewees are expected to know and sign an understanding of compliance with the standards.

• The hospital will have a booth at the fair and also will put a float in the Christmas parade this year.

• Words that Work — a standardized language for hospital staff usage — is being developed.

• A physician display — photos of hospital staff physicians — will be placed in the lobby entranceway.

The board voted to go into executive session at 4:55 p.m. and came back out at 5:15 p.m., without taking any action.