The Hospital Board of Directors on January 15 met with its first item on the agenda: To interview and select a board member to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Physician Assistant Justin Brinkerhoff.

There were two applicants; the same questions were posed to both applicants. The board went into closed session.

Chair Dottie Ratzlaff thanked the applicants for taking the time to apply. Doyle K. Swallow was selected as the new board member and given the Oath of Office of the State of Utah Kane County. 

Election of Board Officers: It was the consensus of the members to retain the status of board officers as previously elected: Chair Dottie Ratzlaff, Vice-Chair Ray Clark and Secretary Karen Alvey.

Hospital Administrator Sherrie Pandya recommended amending the hospital bylaws extending the term of officers from one to two years.

Commissioner Daniel Hulet announced that on January 12, 2009, the commission signed a Warranty Deed to Kane County Human Resources Special Service District (dba) Kane County Hospital. The title is for three small parcels between the hospital maintenance building and the new Behavioral Health Center. It can be used for expansion if needed, but cannot be sold.

The hospital received the 2008 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) monies from the Utah State Mineral Rights Lease Payment Tax. The state specifies the money shall be designated to a specific fund, not to the County’s General Fund.

Finance Director Stephen Howells stated the hospital also received its 2008 appropriated share of the 1 % Sales Tax money. Revenue from both these entities was calculated as part of the hospital’s 2008 operating budget.

There are different sources of PILT money. The money given to the government of Kane County is from federal agencies to offset expenses of municipal services.

Medical Staff Business: Head of the Clinic Medical Staff, Dr. Ott, announced the reappointment of Podiatrist Jeffery Stewart along with his staff, to lease space in the hospital clinic. Scheduled visits will be on a Wednesday once a month. Actual dates have not been decided upon.

Dr. Ott presented the Medical Staff By-Laws for the board’s approval. Dr. Ott stated at the staff’s regular meeting, several issues were addressed.

Dr. Salter suggested the implementation of electronic medical records, as a benefit to the patients and staff. To accomplish this, goal financial assistance is needed.

Other suggestions: A monthly article submitted to Southern Utah News on health and education issues.

Articles will be written by alternating medical staff members. Extending clinic hours was proposed. Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday open until 7 p.m., allowing for same day visits.

Staffing will be made accordingly with the approval of the hospital administrator, coordinating scheduling with the other departments as needed. The medical staff is seeking the addition of a Physician Assistant.

Commissioner Hulet suggested contacting the National Association of Counties for information on obtaining grants for assistance in public health education.

Administrator Sherri Pandya stated she has requested a re-evaluation of the provider base per capita information. The boundaries of the previous survey were incorrect.

Human Resources Director Laurali Noteman stated she had met with new Hospital Auxiliary President Emma Norton. The auxiliary is part of the Kane County Special Service District. Noteman would like to do a quarterly article on the volunteers and accomplishments of the auxiliary.

Noteman said the Keys to the Kingdom training would resume in February. The departments have been asked to determine who their customer is, and how customer relationship can be improved. Human Resources has received a grant for in house training for the staff that will be incorporated with Dixie Hospital.

Finance Director Stephen Howells reported on the budget. The hospital experienced computer system problems in November. Those problems and the holidays have caused some delays in billing.

Howells said it was important to reconcile patient refunds and credits in December. He also stated it was discovered Medicaid had made overpayment errors to the hospital that had to be rectified. It should all be straightened out within the next few months.

Both Noteman and Howells stated the change to the employee insurance program and benefits have created some confusion and there is a need to re-educate the employees on how the program functions.

Administrator Pandya stated the bylaws of the Hospital Board are in the process of being revised.

Pandya covered just some of the positive accomplishments of 2008: Cedar Mountain Clinic opened in March, business operations have improved, Keys to the Kingdom employee training implemented, etc.

Employees Rosalie Esplin and Tracy Leigh received a Certificate of Recognition Award for their participation in the Utah Advisory Disaster Council. They attended training sessions on how to create the hospital’s emergency preparedness initiatives, and how to respond to natural disasters, pandemic flu and mass casualty events.