The key word at the August meeting of the Coffey Health System Board of Trustees was “progress.” Patient satisfaction scores continue to rise and finances are moving in the right direction.
“It’s been quite an interesting month, with a lot of effort by a lot of folks,” said Chairman Steve Hopkins. “We’ve been successful in forming some committees, and getting efforts going involving board as well as the staff … It’s starting to feel like you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have a success path that we’re working toward—getting all the fine details worked out—and it looks like we’re going to get there. Let’s keep up the hard work and I appreciate everyone’s efforts.”
Interim Chief Financial Officer Cheryl Batchelor explained that accounts receivable days are down from 109 in April to 87 days for the month of July. Efforts to streamline the billing process continue.
Batchelor also announced that a committee was established to prioritize capital purchases and consider alternative purchase options that will stretch the county’s recent $1 million capital purchase loan.
“You can buy refurbished equipment that comes with a warranty that serves our needs just as well as buying brand new,” Batchelor said. “That way we can stretch our dollars and maybe get something additional that we need while still staying within our dollars.”
Interim Chief Executive Officer Tom Laux commended staff and the board’s executive finance team for making headway toward paying down vendor debt.
Laux said, “I think we should let the community know the great strides we’ve made to get accounts payable down to 60-days, and also the criteria that we’re applying in terms of meeting payroll first and paying local vendors as the priority. That’s great strides, pretty quickly, with the commissioners’ support, of course.”
Vice Chairman Peter Allegre summarized the initial meeting of the board’s strategic planning committee. The committee reviewed the 2013 community needs assessment to get a feel for usage of medical services and looked at suggestions generated by CHS staff.
“The idea was expressed at our meeting that we emphasize what we do well, and then try to enhance that as we can,” Allegre said. “The specialty clinic looks like something where we could really benefit by expansion. We’re not trying to reinvent Coffey Health System, but rather to focus on what we do, continue to improve, and do everything a little tighter.”
Director of Quality Improvement Rebecca Thurman reviewed the hospital’s patient satisfaction survey results. Staff-led initiatives to address pain control are paying off. The key measure of “staff do everything to help with pain” rose from 82 to 93 percent. Housekeeping saw a 14.7-point increase, and scores for communication with doctors and nurses continue to go up.
Thurman also reported that Coffey County Hospital patients are treated and discharged from the emergency room significantly faster than state and national averages. Kansas ER visits last an average of 215 minutes, while across the country the length grows to 276 minutes. On average, CCH patients are discharged in 117 minutes.
Under the consent agenda, the board extended consulting privileges for Cardiologist Jack Jones, M.D. and approved actions of the executive finance and strategic planning committees.
The board reviewed a revision to the by-laws combining the quality, compliance, and risk management committees into one single committee with two trustee representatives. Levi Skillman and Rosemary Rich agreed to serve on the newly combined committee.
The board unanimously entered four executive sessions.
The first was a 15-minute telephone conference with attorney Scott Palecki, and Laux, Chief Medical Officer John Shell, and Administrative Assistant Terri Tweedy.
A later executive session lasted 25 minutes to address non-elected personnel with Laux attending.
Another discussion regarding non-elected personnel stretched 25 minutes with Laux, Shell, Batchelor, Vice President of Clinical Services Melissa Hall, Vice President of Medical Clinics Patty Thomsen, and Vice President of Human Resources Theresa Thoele present.
All nine trustees were present: Steve Hopkins, chairman; Peter Allegre, vice chair; Rosemary Rich, secretary; Craig Stukey, treasurer; Cameron Roth; Judy Reese; Tim Smith; Levi Saueressig; and Dennis Young.
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