Hospital board meets with legislators

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 12/06/00.

The crisis in long-term care and the medical industry's hope for some relief in the upcoming legislative session were discussed by the Paynesville Area Hospital District Board of Directors at the monthly meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

The board met in a special session with area legislators Sen. Michelle Fischbach and Rep. Doug Stang the morning of Nov. 28, and a recap of that meeting was presented Wednesday night.

Overwhelming regulations, a punitive reimbursement system, and acute shortages in staffing were areas of need that the hospital system pressed for relief.

The hospital system is also concerned about a proposal for property tax reform. PAHCS currently pays tax on its satellite clinics, but not for the hospital, the main clinic, and the Koronis Manor in Paynesville.

(PAHCS has TIF Districts for 700 Stearns Place and its new clinic in Richmond.)

Paying property tax on the main campus would erase $400,000 from PAHCS's bottom line, which would basically wipe out its profit from a year ago, said administrator Willie LaCroix.

Since the district has the power to levy taxes, which it has never used, forcing PAHCS to pay property tax could cause the absurd situation of the district levying property tax to pay property tax, LaCroix said.

In the meeting with the area legislators, PAHCS also reiterated its opposition to allowing an exemption for Allina to build a hospital in the St. Cloud area. PAHCS fears the already tight labor market would worsen with another hospital competing for personnel.

Other business
•The board certified the election results from the hospital district elections in November. Re-elected to the board were Don Anderson (city of Paynesville), Bob Brauchler (city of Regal), Rich Philabaum (city of Roscoe), Diane Rothstein (city of St. Martin), Vickie Ruegemer (city of Richmond), Douglas Ruhland (city of Eden Valley), and Carolyn Swyter (member at large).

All will serve four-year terms except Ruegemer, because the city of Richmond won't start having four-year terms until 2002.

The only glitch in the recent election was the failure of hospital district ballots to be dispersed in Union Grove Township. The Secretary of State's office told hospital administration that if no protest was lodged within a week of the election to ignore the mishap. Swyter, whose position is voted on in all ten entities of the district, was re-elected with 2,234 votes.

•The board recognized donations of $5,000 from the Lions 5M Foundation for newborn hearing screening equipment, $600 in memory of Erwin Nistler for outreach and home health, and a $2,500 grant from the CentraCare Foundation for child injury prevention (car seats and bike helmets).

•The board turned over a $4,749 account for collection.

•The board approved a $5,500 employee loan request for Diane Stuckel, who is going back to school to become a Licensed Professional Nurse.

•The board changed its December meeting to Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. The meeting will start an hour earlier to accommodate the annual auditor's presentation for the 2000 fiscal year that ended in September.

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