In Feb. 25 Issue
The Russell County Hospital's board of directors approved applying for $20 million in USDA loans to proceed with renovations and expansion at the hospital.
The move came after a previous meeting when the board was told that the $20 million mark was the upper limit of what income and profit figures were showing would be well received by the federal agency.
The board began its meeting with a presentation by Steven and Joshua Branscum, as well as Jonathan Smith of Branscum Construction.
After the company's presentation regarding their capacity to save money on projects as well as experience on medical projects, Mickey Garner asked the board to approve hiring the company, before the board had even taken up the issue of applying for funds.
The board rejected the county judge-executive's input, indicating such a move would be premature.
In the financial report to the board hospital CFO Ken Kimsal said the facility continues to operate in the black. He said that though they did not exceed budget as in the previous months they finished the month by adding $114,437 to the bottom line of just over $1 million for the year.
He said the hospital maintains 110 days of operating cash in the bank, and though the interim cost report showed over $60,000 in reimbursement are owed to the federal health-insurance program, but he added that the same program was issuing a $100,000 check to the hospital for previous underpayments.
Kimsal also reported that though one part would need to be replaced the new washer-sterilizer for instruments was up and running.
Interim CEO George Walz told the board that the new backup generator was still in the process of being installed. He said they had added another computer system to the circuit and they expected it to be up and running in March.
Kimsal also said the next meeting would likely include information on ways the hospital would likely proceed with the federally mandated electronic medical records. He said there are grants that will help the hospital begin to comply with the requirements.
He said the issues are complicated and confusing with some problems centering around the lack of a system standard, which he compared to the old Betamax-VHS system argument. Choosing the wrong system could be expensive he pointed out.