In Aug. 26 Issue
The architects, three of them along with an engineer, were at the Thursday night hospital board meeting to report on progress.
Kyle Wilson, who spoke for the representatives of the Estopinal Group said that a change had been made that day to accommodate the terrain the hospital's planned expansion would cover, and that they would be meeting with department heads to finalize other issues over that week and part of the next.
Hospital Chief Financial Officer Ken Kimsal said his office would be finalizing the USDA funding application late this week. The multi-million dollar project would include a new emergency room, surgical and imaging suites as well as remodeling much of the space in the existing hospital.
In Kimsal's financial report he told the board the hospital was ahead of budget in receivables for the month, with the hospital showing a net gain from both patient services and other sources for a total of $57,206 for the first month of the fiscal year.
Kimsal said the bad debt estimate was increasing because of the number of "self-pay" clients the hospital was serving, which are individuals without insurance, but he said there was a strong likelihood that many of them would end up as either enrollees in the Medicaid system or possibly in the state's charity system.
A new interim Chief Executive Officer, Bernadette Zucker, was introduced at the meeting.
Zucker, who said she has worked for years as an executive at Norton's Hospital in Louisville said she came to work as interim CEO here on August 9th.
If this is to remain a temporary assignment is yet to be determined Zucker said, indicating that she may consider tossing her hat in the ring as Alliant and the board search for a permanent CEO for the hospital.
"It is an exciting time to be at Russell County Hospital," Zucker said in an interview this week. "With the planning of the new addition… Financially the hospital is doing well. The staff is stable the board is supportive. -it is a great place to be."
She said she has rented a home in the area, which she said she felt at home in immediately.
"I love it here," she said. "Russell County has a very homey flavor. I mean it feels like home. When I got here it just felt like I'd been here before, you know what I mean."
The board voted to hold the property tax rates at the level they had been last year, though the county's appraisal has shrunk. The board vote was 5-0 to accept what Kimsal estimated would be a $20,000 reduction in the tax income for the hospital, by keeping last year's rate.
The compensating rate would have been a two-tenths of a percent increase in the property tax rate.
Following that the board approved a $60,000 deposit on the software needed to implement the federal requirements for Electronic Health Records. He said the step was necessary to move them into compliance with the program which would pay the hospital back for about 93 percent of all the costs associated with putting all patients' records into electronic format for sharing with other medical facilities and practitioners.
He told the board that the estimated final cost for the software, hardware and associated infrastructure would be about $1.7 million, with the government paying the hospital back $1.5 million. He added that the penalty for non-compliance with the program would be more in two years that the $200,000 the hospital would have to pay to upgrade to the new system.
Jeff Buckley, from the hospital's management firm Alliant, said they were renewing the search for a permanent CEO.