Improved care incentives were topics at hospital board

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 06/03/97.

The Paynesville Area Health Care System's (PAHCS) Board of Directors held their monthly meeting last Wednesday evening, May 28. Several areas of business were discussed, but mainly, a growing need for additional medical equipment and space as well as patient satisfaction; requests, announcements, and approval of various medical staff members and medical intern and resident housing; nursing home funding, and discussion of PAHCS meeting with the Richmond City Council regarding the expansion of the hospital district's services there.

Two topics of concern at the May 28 meeting were the growing need for updates of certain technological equipment, and the concern over a growing need for extra space to accommodate various patient needs.

Beginning with May's board meeting, the board of directors will be touring a specific department each month to access needs or concerns. The board began their new project in radiology with Mark Dingmann, department head.

Dingmann began by introducing the uses and technology of PAHCS recently acquired bone density machine, the only one in Minnesota west of St. Cloud, as well as much of South and North Dakota.

The board then looked at the hospital's current cat scan machine and discussed their concerns about upgrading the equipment, being that the current equipment is three years past its projected life span, and is considerably slower than its newer version. The board made the decision to look into bids for the upgrade and will discuss it further at their June meeting.

PAHCS growing need for additional space was also discussed. Because of growing patient needs, several medical staff offices have been eliminated. Patient privacy was another concern, regarding the need for replacement of curtains by solid walls, and improvements in the emergency dropoff and delivery and birthing areas.

Patient satisfaction was another area of considerable discussion. Prompted by a previous letter from a dissatisfied emergency room patient, the board investigated the complaint and found there to be no actual medical malpractice, but rather, more a conflict of personality. The board implemented a three-week patient satisfaction survey, but due to the small number of patient responses, the board decided to continue the survey for a longer period of time in order to determine if any pattern exists in patient complaints.

A topic regarding a present employee's request for a $5,000 student loan to further her health care education, which was tabled from last month, was approve.

In other health care staff business, the board approved the appointment of Donna Bahr, LICSW (psychology), to PAHCS ancillary staff, and Dr. Ernest Aulick, as of August 1997, will have finished out his many years as family practitioner with PAHCS. After that date, Dr. Aulick will no longer see hospital or clinic patients, but will continue as medical director of the Koronis Manor through 1998.

Nursing home and long-term care funding continues to be a large concern for PAHCS, being that the 1997 legislature provided little relief. A large concern continues to be the large gap between the actual operational costs of health care, and the amount of state and federal reimbursement for the medical services.

PAHCS continues to work out the kinks with the Richmond City Council regarding the expansion of health care services to their district. Mayor Pat Evans remains hesitant on specific details of building a new clinic in Richmond, but agreed to work on them in the weeks to come.

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