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Paynesville Press - March 31, 2004

Hospital receives grant for medication delivery system

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area Hospital District took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, March 24.

*The board approved a conflict of interest policy for board members, defining conflicts of interest for board members, identifying procedures to disclose any conflict of interest and to report a conflict of interest, and stating that board members should not vote on issues where they have a conflict of interest. The next step will be to have board members sign statements disclosing any conflict of interests.

*The board learned that PAHCS will receive a $100,000 Rural Hospital Capitalization Grant for an automated medication delivery system, which should benefit both the pharmacy and nursing departments when purchased and installed.

*The board reviewed PAHCS's finances through February. In that month, PAHCS reported a profit of $198,876, helped by 173 patient days in the hospital, above the 144 days budgeted for the month.

Through five months of its fiscal year, PAHCS is running in the black to the tune of $406,569. This should help its highly leveraged financial position. PAHCS is starting to receive payments from Medicare following its switch to cost-based reimbursement through critical access hospital designation, but cash flow remains a concern.

PAHCS is also continuing to work on refinancing its debt, which would lower its annual payments.

CEO Steve Moburg told the board that administration feels PAHCS is moving in the right direction financially but stressed that they still had a long way to go. He said he was cautiously optimistic about PAHCS's financial progress.

*The board approved granting amniocentesis privileges to Dr. Randall Zimmerman. Guided by ultrasound, this procedure takes amniotic fluid to test for fetal lung capacity. Dr. Tim Malling, chief of staff, described it as a simple procedure, not commonly done, but necessary to test if a premature baby's lungs are ready before a caesarean section. If the baby's lungs are healthy, it could be delivered at PAHCS. If not, the delivery would need to be done at a facility with a neo-natal care unit.

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