BLMH employee receives vaccine

A Bear Lake Memorial Hospital employee receives a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

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Bear Lake Memorial Hospital held its monthly board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. All members of the board were present with the exception of ex-officio member, Gary Griffin.

The meeting was called to order and everyone was welcomed by Chairman Cordell Passey. It was determined the Oath of Office being given to Gary Griffin would be moved to the end of the meeting if Mr. Griffin was able to attend.

In Old Business, board rounding had Maxine Matthews stating she visited with Trish Sparks who commented on how appreciative she was of the bonus, as was everyone. Trish was concerned about ways to buoy people up in her department during this hard time. Everyone is trying their hardest to keep everything going smoothly. Dr. Crane would like rounding to include the providers.

Lila Rigby visited with Kim Hulme who is busy with Medicare enrollment. She is glad to be back and happy to be busy.

Craig Culver mentioned some of the high school students who are employees of the hospital are grateful for the gift they were given.

The department head call sheet was revamped with phone numbers.

In New Business, Sarah Wixom gave a quarterly review of Internal Quality Audits, which included the policies and procedures required through DNV to have a more BLMH-specific rather than departmental audit.

The People’s Choice Award Nominees for December were Dr. Meissner, Jill Rasmussen, and Jeanette Christensen. Those recognized for their years of service in November were Andrea Woolstenhulme (20 years), Sharon Hill (10 years), Jill Rasmussen (5 years), and Marcy Phelps (5 years).

A discrepancy was noticed in the minutes of Nov. 24 with regard to the safety and quality meeting that occurred on Nov. 24. That correction will be made.

Leslie Crane gave the financial report. In November the hospital had a loss of $377,000 with a year to date overall loss of $169,000. They had a bump in AR days, but they are coming back down now. The issue has been because of COVID-19 and staff being out of the office. There will be new regulations in January that change how they send their statements and how they communicate with their patients and give them information regarding services rendered.

Based on the board retreat and discussion of the Strategic Plan, CEO Mike Blauer spoke of what he captured as being important.

He said going forward their focus should be on culture, trying to keep up communication, quality in the hospital and clinics with quality payment programs for Medicaid, focus on the construction project, recruiting for new positions, and also electronic medical records and general marketing.

Maxine Matthews mentioned they should add Urology, as well, with Dr. Campbell leaving. CEO Blauer said he will have a mechanism for reporting back on that. He is in ongoing conversations regarding this specialty, and hopefully they will make progress in the next month or two. The lack of urology services is a big deficit in our area and important.

Emily Transtrum gave a report on the Safety and Quality Committee. Suicide patient precautions need to be updated and replaced as well as training with nurses in the emergency department. She also spoke of a survey and training that Sean Tobler has done in that area. There were fewer citations in this year’s DNV survey compared to last year.

Craig Culver reported bad debt in the amount of $79,958.19.

Trecia Sparks gave a report on Worker’s Compensation compliance.

Maxine Matthews gave recommendations for scholarships to the following people: $8,000 to Shayla Boehme, $1,278 to Rebecca Alleman, and $15,000 to Alexis Tillotson.

Credentialing was then recommended and approved based on medical staff review for Patrick Burke, MD, and Dishant Shah, MD, in Direct Radiology.

CEO Blauer stated they are making good progress on construction at the hospital. They are hanging sheetrock, wires, and putting in plumbing. They are hoping to install the MRI mid-February, and hoping to be done with Phase I of the project the beginning of April. The Manor has the portico basically finished, and the sprinkler system will be wrapped up in a week.

As far as the COVID-19 situation, more staff members at the hospital have been out due to testing positive or being exposed. This past week there has not been as much demand for tests by the public. Another COVID-19 patient was admitted to the hospital. CEO Blauer feels okay about supplies such as personal protective equipment and they continue to watch that. He, however, says he is nervous about the rest of the winter.

Craig Culver mentioned he has had feedback that there is some “resistance” to the vaccine and asked CEO Blauer’s thoughts on that.

CEO Blauer said the vaccination process has been interesting. Initially the hospital was told they would be getting 50 Pfizer vaccinations. They ended up opting to wait for the Moderna vaccine of which they received 200. It is a two-part vaccine requiring a 28-day period between the first shot and a second required shot. They did a trial run of the vaccine Wednesday, Dec. 22, encouraging the staff to consider receiving it. They then did a clinic and opened it up to the staff then did another clinic last Tuesday, Dec. 29. After that clinic, a total of 80 employees had been vaccinated.

CEO Blauer said he would term it more of a “hesitation” than “resistance to the vaccine because people are wary. However, he feels once people see that those who have the vaccine are doing well they will not be so hesitant and will go ahead and get the vaccine themselves. He is optimistic the vaccine will make a difference.

He said they planned to give the vaccine to residents of the Skilled Nursing Facility and the Manor the next day, Dec. 30. It was also mentioned that even though a person has the vaccine, they should still wear a mask and practice social distancing, especially since it requires two shots.

In around the board, it was a general consensus everyone is going above and beyond in their jobs at the hospital. They are also grateful for their bonuses this year. Senator Marc Gibbs iterated what a blessing the hospital is and how good they take care of people, as did Commissioner Vaughn Rasmussen.

Chairman Passey mentioned a few cards of thanks that had been received and gratitude for the staff and wished everyone a happy New Year.

At that time, the board went into Executive Session. No decisions were made in that session.

The meeting was then adjourned.

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