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Paynesville Press - November 2, 2005

Hospital board covers short agenda

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area Hospital District Board of Directors took the following actions at their monthly meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

*The board approved the adoption of policies, as specified by their agreement with the attorney general, who has focused on billing practices by health care organizations in the state. The board had approved an agreement with attorney general Mike Hatch regarding health care services offered to uninsured patients in July.

The general theme of the agreement, which was done with health care organizations around the state, is that hospital bills should not stand in the way of health care for uninsured individuals. Uninsured individuals should receive the same discounts as the insurance companies, and billing and collecting from uninsured patients needs to be done according to ethical policies and procedures.

The board was given a checklist of PAHCS's implementation of this agreement and approved the adoption of several policies concerning debt collection by PAHCS and by third-party collection agencies. The specific wording required by the agreement were inserted in specific PAHCS policies, including its financial collection procedures and its financial aid policy.

The agreement with the attorney general also requires the board of directors to review debt collection litigation, debt collection activity, audits, and PAHCS's charity care policies on an annual basis. Administration suggested that the board could put this review as an agenda item yearly, either July or August, around the anniversary of signing the agreement.

*The board approved a new three-year contract with CEO Steve Moburg, whose initial three-year contract expired in mid-September.

*The board reviewed its finances through the end of September, which is the end of its 2005 fiscal year. PAHCS showed a loss from operations of $51,777 in September, leaving its year-to-date earnings for 2005 at $667,770, which is slightly under budget.

PAHCS is still compiling its cost report for Medicare, which is used to determine final reimbursement from Medicare, chief financial officer Kirk Johnson told the board. Hopefully, this final figuring will result in greater reimbursement, a positive result for PAHCS. Johnson added that the district's annual audit is being scheduled for a special meeting in January.

*The board acknowledged two resignations from the medical staff. Urologists A. David Matthew, M.D., and Benjamin Rhee, M.D., had both been given consulting privileges in order to back up the regular urologist but had never come to PAHCS, so they resigned their privileges.

*The board was informed by administration that the district's new Chain of Lakes Medical Clinic in Cold Spring is still scheduled to open on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

*The board was reminded that in lieu of its November and December meetings a single meeting would be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m.

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