Weekend surgery discussed at hospital board

This article submitted by Peter Jacobson on 6/2/98.

The issue of weekend surgery was the main topic of discussion at the regular meeting of the Paynesville Area Health Care System [PAHCS] Board of Directors on Wednesday.

Willie LaCroix, PAHCS Administrator, had just received a letter from the surgeons group, which has served the hospital for years, announcing that call for surgery would not be available from six p.m. Fridays to eight a.m. on Mondays. The reason given for this change in coverage was that the surgical group will be down to three surgeons, and that weekend call needs to be discontinued in Paynesville.

LaCroix stated there are economic and political ramifications to this decision.

"Economically, it is vital that we have emergency surgery available seven days a week, 24 hours a day," LaCroix said. "Politically, if a Paynesville area family depends on PAHCS for their medical care, it would be devastating for them and us to send them packing to St. Cloud or Willmar for an emergency appendectomy on their 10-year-old son on Saturday morning."

"We need surgery available 24 hours a day, seven days a week," concluded LaCroix. "This issue has just surfaced, and we wll be working on it soon."

LaCroix has received a letter of resignation from clinic manager Mary Lou Strande, effective whenever the facility is able to hire a new manager. Strande will then concentrate on coding clinic procedures for billing purposes. Interviews will be set up in the near future, and the Joint Management Committee, made up of representatives of the doctors, board, and administration will be involved in the decision making process.

In other action, the board:

• received a report that the new air conditioner, which cools a major portion of the patient wing and the outreach area, is installed and operational.

• approved extending provisional privileges for Donna Bahr, Licensed Clinical Worker, until she gets her Psy D degree.

• approved full active staff privileges for David Webster, M.D., Consulting Staff.

• heard the Operational Review will be given at a special noon meeting. The date will be decided soon.

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