Hospital board discuss options for Richmond Clinic

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 04/01/97.

The Paynesville Area Health Care System board came closer in developing options for building a new medical clinic in Richmond last Wednesday night at their monthly Board meeting. The expansion of PAHCS services to Richmond was an important topic on the agenda, as well as several other areas of business including long-term care funding, new medical staff, and the PAHCS financial statement.

Richmond Medical Clinic
The hospital board discussed options in the development of the proposed Richmond Medical Clinic which would replace the current one. The clinic, if built, would be a satellite of PAHCS. It was discussed during the February 26 board meeting that Sen. Michelle Fischbach and Rep. Doug Stang are both willing to carry special legislation to allow Richmond to join PAHCS if they decide to do so.

Richard Engen, the architect for PAHCS, met with the board and decided on the block next to the retirement center in Richmond as a possible site for the proposed clinic. It was decided that members of the hospital board would discuss community needs, alternatives, and possible options at the April 30 meeting of the Richmond City Council.

One of the main priorities of the board on this issue is to ask the Richmond City Council and the mayor to form an advisory committee of local Richmond citizens to get the community involved in developing their personal needs and desires for a future clinic in their community. "It might take a little longer to process," said administrator William LaCroix, "but everything so far has not been for naught."

Long-term care funding
The Care Providers of Minnesota, a for profit health care system and the Minnesota Health and Housing Alliance, a nonprofit health care system have joined together in a unified effort to encourage legislation to raise or at least not cut senior citizen funding for Minnesota's long-term care industry. Presently, Governor Arne Carlson has proposed to reduce funding for seniors. "The employees in the Manor work hard and do a great job," said LaCroix. "They deserve every penny they get." A reduction in senior care funding would limit the resources and possible care available to seniors. Some nursing homes are left with empty beds, or have residents that are sent to lesser skilled facilities because their insurance or other medical funding won't approve them for residency at a more qualified home.

It also makes caring for individuals harder for the hospital because without a referral from the patient's primary clinic, the hospital doesn't get paid for their health care services. "It makes it harder to provide the quality of care that patients expect, families expect, and this board expects," commented LaCroix.

LaCroix encouraged hospital board members to write or contact Doug Stang and their other representatives to put an end to any possible cuts in senior citizen health care funding.

Medical staff
Donna Barr was granted temporary staff priviliges by the hospital board. She has a masters degree in clinical psychology and will receive her Ph.D. in May of this year, and at this point is able to do consulting. "She is doing a great job and is a good addition to our staff," said LaCroix.

Financial statement
PAHCS operating revenue is up from last year by almost seven percent, with a net profit of $46,507. PAHCS also received their 1996 tax refund in February.

Miscellaneous business
In other business, hospital board members attended several area township meetings. LaCroix felt it was a positive experience and well worth the effort. Assistant administrator Bev Mueller mentioned that many questions came up including the hospital's billing system and general health care. "It was interesting to find out about our townships and who is involved," said Mueller.

The PAHCS auxiliary will be giving scholarships again this year to area students. They were able to purchase 10 folding tables and have done a fine job maintaining the aquarium in the Paynesville Clinic and the aviary in the Manor.

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