In April 22 Issue
Russell County Hospital's Board of Directors approved the move to a tobacco-free campus at last Thursday night's meeting.
Saying the hospital is one of the last in this area to make the change interim CEO George Walz asked for and received the board's full support.
Administrative Assistant Theresa Spaw, who was involved in drafting the plan, said the change would be gradual, phasing in over 12 months, and would include education programs including those to help staff overcome their addiction to tobacco products.
It was noted that one patient was recently seen outside smoking, while receiving oxygen through a nasal cannula.
All of the board members voted in favor of the tobacco-free status, but no date was set for the change next year.
Spaw said Monday that the tentative plan is to ban all tobacco products from hospital grounds on the first day of May in 2011.
The medical staff had previously offered their 100 percent endorsement of the plan according to Dr. Stephanie Jones, the hospital's chief of staff.
In the financial report, CFO Ken Kimsal told the board that March had been a positive month, with revenue 5 percent above budget, driven mostly by outpatient income.
He said that overall operating revenue was up for the month and the year compaired to budget, with the hospital's net at $129,675 for the month and $1.28 million for the year, as of the end of March.
Toward budget planning for the coming fiscal year Kimsal said there was a proposal to assist the hospital in securing grants. Wanda Helm and Dr. Lynda Wilkerson offered their 22 years of experience to the board and that offer was accepted.
The cost of the services would be between $25 and $50 an hour depending on the type of work done.
Walz explained that the letter can about as the two ladies brought him information on a $400,000 grant that was available for hospital equipment.
He and Kimsal stressed that this non-competitive grant would go a long way to reducing the hospital's equipment expense for the next budget year.
The request for an additional elector-cardiogram for the hospital was approved. Kimsal said there had been three, but the hospital was down to one, and the adition of another would pay for itself in a couple of months and the change would end a bottleneck in services.
Also approved was the purchase of three defibrillator units from the ambulance service. The cost of $15,000 for all three was less than the cost of one new one and Kimsal said the units were the same as the newer units that were in use. They were approved and will be used to replace older units that the manufacturer is no longer supporting.
Replacement of the water heater, which had been in the budget for the last 5 years according to Kimsal, was approved after the unit went down recently.
It is hard to run a hospital without hot water, was the comment from one board member.
Progress was reported on a no-interest loan from the South Kentucky RECC. The money, intended to be used for compliance with the federal electronic health records program, would be in the form of a loan, for which $90 percent would be covered by Medicare-Medicaid cost reimbursements after implemented, Kimsal said.
A book and other information was given to the board members about compliance with the federal program and they were reminded that there would be penalties from the government if they were not in compliance with the program, which has yet to be completely written.
In other equipment related news Walz told the board that the switch over to the new generator system was delayed because he felt it was likely systems would be damaged. He said a large portable generator was being brought in to protect the systems as the new generator was wired in.
Alliant VP Jeff Buckley said they would be bringing in other CEO candidates for the bard to interview. Consensus in the meeting was that there has been only one viable candidate so far and Board Chairman Jeff Hubbard stressed that though they were pleased with all of Walz work the hospital needed a full-time leader and the company needed to bring in candidates quickly.
Moving to the topic of renovation and additions to the hospital Hubbard asked that architectural firm present proposals as soon as reasonable. He noted that Ken Kimsal had completed all the application paperwork possible at this point and the next step would require proposals, drawings, in order to move ahead with the application the the USDA for funding.
Buckley and interim CEO George Walz said they would be talking with firms in Louisville, Cincinnati, Nashville and Lexington to locate an experienced group that has a good track record of building hospitals