Officials: Hospital experiencing ‘huge turnaround’

Published 5:39 pm Friday, March 23, 2012

A positive financial picture was again presented at the Memorial Hospital board meeting on Tuesday. The key indicators for the month of February reflect a net income of $187,647 for the month. This puts the hospital at $2,342,019 ahead of last year, when a negative $1,808,617 was reported.

Glennie Bench, chairperson of the Finance Committee, commented, “This is a huge turn around in a very short period of time,” to which Authority Chairman Charles Tyson responded, “About one year ago we were presented with a plan to save $3 million dollars, and we’ve just about done it.”

The fiscal year ends March 31 and the board was presented and passed a $84,479,881 dollar budget for FY 2012-13, which included an average 3 percent merit salary increase per department. Discussion ensued about the need to increase the salaries, especially in the nursing/clinical staff, as the hospital is experiencing loss of personnel in those areas, attributable to salary issues.

Tyson appointed a nominating committee of Johnny Grimsley, chairman; Dr. Charles Walker and Alesia Brinson, to develop a slate of officer candidates to be voted upon at the April meeting.

The board moved and approved purchase of wall-mounted hardware required for the implementation of MediTech’s modules for the operating room and emergency departments. These units document the treatment of patients, as required by the federally-mandated “Meaningful Use” laws. The board had previously given approval to purchase other models, and implementation was purposely delayed to coincide with installation of the hardware.

Each of these departments has evaluated the use of proposed rolling carts and found them cumbersome and difficult to maneuver in crowded spaces, while the hand-held tablets also presented problems. They required two hands to operate, and stretched privacy guidelines when family members or others are present in the room. The wall-mounted version resolves most of these issues. Each enclosure is equipped with a computer, monitor and modem. The cost of the purchase and installation for the project is $48,379.70.

CEO Billy Walker gave a progress report on the various work of the steering committee, pursuing the “Journey to Excellence” project.

Tyson made a suggestion that the board schedule a new retreat, similar to the one held last August, to review the old goals and set new ones. A date prior to the June board meeting will be chosen.

It was announced that the Hospital Foundation is establishing a “Legacy Award” to be presented annually. The first recipient will be Bill Jones, who will be honored at the April 14 Foundation Derby Party at the Kirbo Center. Jones is the person most responsible for establishing the foundation and he has dedicated more than 20 years of volunteer work to the foundation. Future awards will be made in his name.
Prior to voting to go into executive session, Joe Livingston related a request from his family that the hospital have handrails installed along the long hallways of the hospital. He reported figures and specifications are being researched toward that end.

The board went into closed executive session to discuss personnel and other issues. They went back into open meeting and voted to approve minutes of the Feb. 14 executive committee and of the March 7 total quality management meeting.

After the open meeting was adjourned, Tyson requested for all board members to remain to discuss the CEO’s annual evaluation. No further action was reported.