Hospital board updated on projects

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 9/1/99.

The changing face of health care was evident at the Paynesville Area Hospital District Board of Directors monthly meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 25, as discussion touched on a variety of topics during the two-hour meeting.

The board welcomed its newest member, Rich Philabaum, from the city of Roscoe, to his first meeting on the board. The Roscoe City Council voted to join the hospital district last month, and Philabaum was appointed to represent the city. Philabaum brings 30 years of experience from the health care industry to the board. For the past 28 years, he has worked at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in St. Cloud.

The admission of Roscoe to the district brings membership to ten governmental entities: six cities and four townships.

The Richmond City Council also met last Wednesday night but did not make a new appointment to the hospital board. Candidates for the appointment will be considered again at their next meeting.

The city of Lake Henry has approached the district's administration about the possibility of joining the district and were informed of the protocols involved. Without the participation of Lake Henry Township, the admission of the city of Lake Henry would require special legislation again, which has been used to admit both the cities of Eden Valley and Richmond to the district.

*Hospital system administrators updated the board members on the status of the Richmond Medical Clinic construction, which is ahead of schedule, and on the opening of the Integrated Health Center in Paynesville. (See the related story on page 1.)

*The board directed the administration to make a counter offer and continue negotiations with a prospective buyer of the old clinic building in Richmond.

*The board was informed about the merits of an accelerated CAT scan. This state-of-the-art equipment can do scans in significantly less time than the hospital's current one. The accelerated CAT scan could be used for more tests, including screening tests for people at-risk for coronary disease. The board was told that the first symptom of coronary disease for 30 percent of its victims is sudden death. An accelerated CAT scan can detect two millimeter tumors and clots in the body.

"A couple of years from now, a routine colonoscopy is going to be history," explained Randy Zimmerman, M.D., the hospital's chief of staff.

The purchase of an accelerated CAT scan, and other capital improvements, will be discussed again by the board at their upcoming budget meeting, which will be held at noon on Sept. 15 in the Blakely Room.

*The board reappointed Joe Stephanie, C.R.N.A., and Russell Sauer, C.R.N.A., as anesthetists. Stephanie is the regular anesthetist and Sauer helps with call. The board also granted privileges to Todd Lemke, Pharm.D., and expanded privileges for Gene Beavers, P.A.

*Willie LaCroix, hospital system administrator, updated the board on negotiations with a group of nursing assistants in the Koronis Manor, who sent a letter to each board member expressing dissatisfaction.

LaCroix told the board that the state provided long-term care facilities with money for a 4.48 percent increase in compensation to employees, which turns out to be a three percent salary hike after benefits. The salary increase is complicated for the hospital system, LaCroix explained, by employees who work for the Manor, but also work for either the hospital, clinic, or 700 Stearns Place as well.

Representatives from the nursing assistants and from the board's personnel committee met on Monday, Aug. 30.

*LaCroix told the board he had met with other administrators about the future of long-term care. The Koronis Manor has had up to 11 open beds. "We're just concerned that, unless nursing homes get up to speed with the amenities, nursing homes aren't going to exist in the future,"Ęsaid LaCroix, who compared it to the crisis for hospitals in the early 1980s. What is needed are more private rooms, more private baths, and better facilities for better service.

"Just believe me," added LaCroix. "You've got to do something."

Yesterday, at a special meeting, the board got its first look at a proposed remodeling plan involving the Koronis Manor and the hospital. Full coverage will be in next week's issue of the Press.

*The board's regular meeting for September has been moved to Sept. 29.

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