In Feb. 3 Issue
Thursday's meeting of the Russell County Hospital Board of Directors was the first for new CEO David Rasmussen and new board member Charles Blankenship. The two have come aboard at an exciting time at the hospital with expansion in the near future and on solid financial ground.
With former board chair Jeff Hubbard's term expiring as the month began, Chris McQueary has now taken that role while Mark Antle is now the board's vice chair.
Rasmussen said his first three weeks on the job had flown by as he is getting more accustomed to his position.
"It has been going good and the managers have been responding positively," he said of his first few weeks.
One of his goals, he said, was that the emergency room should run about a 10 percent admission rate.
"I've challenged the emergency room a little bit," Rasmussen said.
"We've been running the first half of the (fiscal) year at about 5 percent," he said. "Ten percent is not pushing it in any way … it is just a goal to work towards."
He has also been looking at the hospital's core measurements, federal standards that critical access hospitals must meet, to see how they can be improved as well as other standards the hospital is measured by. Rasmussen ended his brief talk to the board by thanking them for their support and belief that he was the right person for the job.
In other business at the meeting:
o CFO Ken Kimsal told the board the hospital still had some meetings scheduled with the architect before putting bid packages out for the upcoming expansion.
"On the financial side, we've submitted our application and it's waiting on the federal budget to get approved before they go any further with it," he said. "Right now the government is operating on a continuing resolution and they don't allow any new money out to any programs."
He said March would be the earliest the hospital would here from the USDA about funding for the expansion project.
o Dr. Jerry Westerfield gave a medical staff update in the absence of Dr. Kent Gibson, saying the hospital was not doing any new recruiting at this time. Westerfield also said the digital mammography program had just started the day of the meeting and they served seven patients with 11 scheduled for the next day.
"The images are absolutely striking and a lot of people have been waiting for it," Westerfield said. "The installation took a little longer than we would have liked but I think everyone will like it."
He said the hospital is going to really push the mammography program in Russell and surrounding counties with radio and newspaper ads as well as a possible billboard locally.
"It is a wonderful unit and we're so lucky to have it and to have gotten the grant to get it," he said. "You won't have to go to Somerset or Lexington now."
o Kimsal gave the monthly financial report, saying the hospital, for the month of December, was about 3 percent behind budget and 6 percent behind last year for the month. He said the hospital, year to date, was behind budget by about one percent and two percent from this time a year ago.
"The majority of that has fallen with the inpatient side for the year to date," he said. "As far as inpatient for December it was higher but outpatient was unfortunately lower." He said the hospital currently sits at 3 percent below budget for the fiscal year.
"The weather we've been having really kept a lot of the numbers down," Kimsal said.
He said operating income was $13,000 for the month and $122,000 for the year to date.
o Board members voted to renew four types of insurance needed at the hospital as February neared. The hospital renewed their property insurance with Affiliated FM for $11,085, commercial auto with Selective Insurance for $3,500, D&O/EPL/Fid/Crime insurance with Federal Insurance for $13,090 and general and professional liability insurance with Hudson for $181,860.
o The board also purchased a new cytocentrifuge for the laboratory for $5,095.75, which they were required to purchase, as well as four new hospital beds for $26,125.