The board was informed that the system has signed another physician. Dr. Clemma Nash should start work for the Paynesville Area Health Care System (PAHCS) next September. She is the third physician that has signed to come next summer. Dr. Heidi Malling should start in July, and Dr. Larry Strate in August.
The board's joint management committee discussed staffing for the new physicians. Their tentative plan is for Dr. Malling to spend two days in Paynesville and two days at the Eastside Medical Clinic in Belgrade. Dr. Strate would spend two days at the Richmond Area Medical Clinic and two days in Paynesville. Dr. Nash has an interest in complementary medicine and would spend two days at the Integrated Health Center and two days at the Paynesville Area Medical Clinic.
Hospital administration also has started recruiting Dan Lillquist, a physician's assistant who spent six months in Paynesville as a student in 1999. He graduates next summer from Augsburg College.
Hospital system personnel walked through the new Richmond Area Medical Clinic on Thursday, Dec. 16. Final approval of the building was scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 23.
The system expects to move into the new clinic on Jan. 15. An open house will be scheduled after that date.
The sale of the old clinic building in Richmond is being finalized.
The hospital board will be holding a joint conference committee with the Paynesville Medical Group on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 6:45 a.m. Special guests at the meeting will be Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville), Rep. Doug Stang (R-Cold Spring), and Rep. Steve Dehler (R-St. Joseph).
Issues the hospital system is expected to raise with the legislators is a change to the hospital district legislation and the long-term care moratorium. Our district has already used special legislation to admit the cities of Eden Valley and Richmond to the hospital district. Now the city of Lake Henry has expressed interest in joining. A change in the law would allow an existing hospital district to admit a governmental entity that does not border it.
Despite a surplus, the state designated a mere $250,000 for upgrading long-term care facilities. Over 30 applied, including PAHCS, and only three received funds, not PAHCS. Hospital system administrator Willie LaCroix said improvements are needed throughout the state for health and safety reasons. "It's not a luxury," he said. "It's a necessity."
Later at the meeting, during the discussion concerning the system's services for the month of November, LaCroix noted that the Koronis Manor was only at 90 percent occupancy. That occupancy rate is one reason why a remodeling project for the nursing home is being planned.
The board will need to make a decision as to the extent of the project, considering both the physical requirements of the operation as well as the financing. A special meeting should be scheduled in January with the system's architect and its financial advisor to discuss the project. "We need to see what our options are," LaCroix told the board, "what we need and what we can afford."
At their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 19, the board will reorganize for the new year.
The medical staff reorganization is ready for the new year. Dr. Bob Gardner will become chief of the medical staff and will be the doctors' representative to the board. On the joint management committee, Dr. Randy Zimmerman will join Dr. Tom Sult as the medical group's representative. Zimmerman will replace Dr. Allan Solum.
Also, at that meeting on Jan. 19, the hospital board is expected to discuss the future of the system's employees' club. The club recently organized the staff's Christmas party, which was praised as an opportunity for the staff to meet people in other departments.
The hospital auxiliary received a $700 grant from Meeker Electric Cooperative. The auxiliary is raising funds for a wandering system for the Koronis Manor.
The hospital received a $600 donation from Eden Lake Township United Charity Fund to the ambulance service.
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