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Paynesville Press - Oct. 29, 2003

Paynesville Area Hospital District meeting

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area Hospital District took the following actions at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 22.

*The board heard a concern from employee Irna Kotten over the board's decision to stop providing premium dollars to help retirees pay for their health insurance as part of the Paynesville Area Health Care System (PAHCS) insurance plan. Kotten said she is looking to retire and the continuation of her health insurance is crucial to her plans.

Board chairman Don Thomes and CEO Steve Moburg explained that the board took this step because the district cannot afford to continue to pay for these benefits. Over the next five years, the cost to the district was estimated at more than $100,000 per year, said Moburg, and in ten years, the cost would be $150,000 per year. No other health care provider was offering such a benefit, said Moburg.

Kotten wondered if PAHCS could offer some incentives for health care and agreed to referring the matter to the board's personnel committee for review.

*The board voted to hold only one meeting in November and December, since its monthly meetings on the fourth Wednesday typically land close to Thanksgiving and Christmas. The board will hold one meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. They will also have a special meeting for their annual audit, but this may not be ready until January 2004.

*The board was updated on the progress of its application for critical-access-hospital designation. PAHCS has prepared its policies and procedures (which are mainly the same as before) and will be surveyed by the state in November.

PAHCS could start with the critical-access designation (whereby PAHCS would be reimbursed by Medicare on a cost basis, meaning an extra $930,000 in 2004 in revenue) starting in December.

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