Bear Lake Manor

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The Bear Lake Memorial Hospital Board held its monthly meeting Sept. 22. All members of the board were present.

Chairman Cordell Passey called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone.

After a couple of additions to the agenda, County Commissioner Vaughn Rasmussen swore Maxine Matthews in, renewing her membership on the board. A few things the oath asks is that she encourage free expression, that she abide by the decision of the majority of the board, and that she perform her duties assigned to the best of her ability without fear.

For Board Education, a video, which is a trustee education series on Rural Health Readiness, was presented. The video pinpointed Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D and Commercial Insurance. It spoke of the various types of insurance and making informed decisions. It also spoke of the various funds of the Medicare Program, but also the Medicaid Program and how it differs from Medicare.

The People’s Choice Award Nominee for the month of August is the entire Housekeeping Staff.

Those recognized for their years of service were Melissa Thornock (10 years) and Brandi Tillotson (20 years).

Leslie Crane gave the Financial Report saying August was not as good financially as July. However, there was a gross of $3.9 million a monthly income of $216,000 and a year-to-date income of $891,000.

Tracy Park gave the Foundation Report noting there has been $1.6 million raised so far of the $2.5 million goal. They received a $500,000 donation from Mr. Ted Schmidt, and Mr. Park said it was nice to see him and how much he loves the hospital and the organization as well as his humility and desire to line up with the hospital’s mission to give access to premium healthcare in the valley. They have a leather-bound book with nice pictures and acknowledgments commemorating Mr. Schmidt’s contribution to the hospital of the dialysis and being instrumental in the renovation. It is a thoughtful way to acknowledge his generosity to the facility.

They also received many other donations, some from people who live in the valley and others who do not. They also received many donations in the last 90 to 150 days through their campaign letter totaling $69,000.

They used a donation from Modern Woodsman in a creative way to get matched and are using it as an incentive to make more money. Mr. Park said it was unique to see the generosity.

Mr. Park also reported they received a large grant of $300,000.

Regarding the Strategic Plan, the hospital is anticipating their accreditation survey by DNV (the company that surveys them to ensure they are meeting and exceeding CMS regulations) any time between now and mid-November. They are holding routine meetings to make sure they’re ready for that survey.

Laurie Harrison gave the report from the Safety Quality Committee saying Mindi Ward reported earlier that they had the lowest medication errors in the Skilled Nursing Facility for August at .02 percent. This is something to be noted. She also reported fewer distractions with no visitation due to COVID-19. Everyone is very focused on being upbeat and positive. Mindi and Jory appreciate the staff and their attitude during this and having to be tested. COVID-19 has created a great deal of work and the staff has not complained. The residents are doing well, although it is hard for the dementia patients because they don’t understand the testing.

In the Committee Reports, Craig Culver reported bad debt in the amount of $46,455.39 for the month of August. He also expressed appreciation for Leslie Crane and the work she does to keep on top of things.

Lila Rigby presented Credentialing, reporting that Michael Enslow, Radiology, is up for a two-year review. Michael Breven, MD; Richard Carregal, DO; and Ave Rizvi, MD, of Direct Radiology are up for review as well.

CEO Mike Blauer gave the Management update beginning with a report on the COVID-19 situation. He said things are continuing to “move forward.” The trailer in the back where they do the COVID-19 testing “ebbs and flows.”

They are doing a massive amount of testing at the nursing home and the Manor. The Manor has remained case-free; however there have been some risks and concerns at the nursing home. They also test all residents and employees regularly.

He reported CMS has come out with new guidelines regarding how nursing homes should conduct testing for COVID-19. Specifically, these rules dictate how often testing should be performed based on the positivity rate of testing done in the county. At the nursing facility they have already been meeting these expectations, but they intend to closely monitor the positivity rate for our area.

He reported there has been an uptick in cases in the county, and the county has seen its first death due to COVID-19. He is also anxious because of school being back in.

The question was asked whether there is funding provided for testing. He reported t{span}here are some funds available but we have to meet certain criteria to access them.

Mr. Blauer then reported on the new construction. They are in Phase I of the project now, doing framing. They hope to have that done and ready to be used in February or March. Then they will be able to move into Phase II.

A second project they are working on is the front entrance of the Manor. The scope of work includes redoing the parking lot, which will allow for better access and better loading and unloading of residents when they use the bus. This will take a few months. During that time, people will have to use the back entrance.

Mr. Blauer then gave recognition to Dr. Degnan, calling out the many wonderful, kind things he’s heard about him. He wanted it on the record that Dr. Degnan is very much appreciated despite what has happened.

He then reported that Shannon Heslington has accepted the position as his Executive Assistant, taking the place of Vanessa Crookston. He said he appreciates her and Vanessa for all they do.

Commissioner Rasmussen gave an update on the Health Board and how they make their decision on what color to place a county in because the question was asked if there is a difference between yellow and red. Caribou County was used as an example because they went from 10 cases of COVID-19 to 39 cases within a few days.

In Around the Board, Maxine Matthews had no comments.

Mark Harris expressed appreciation for the hospital administration and staff and to the board as a whole. He said we are blessed, and he appreciates Bear Lake Memorial Hospital and the way it is set up.

Craig Culver brought up the Service-A-Thon the high school is going to be doing, asking that if any of the board members have an idea of something the kids can do as a project to let him know.

Lila Rigby had no comments.

Laurie Harrison said she is appreciative of the team and what a great place the hospital is, what wonderful people they are who work there, and what great things they are accomplishing. She said she is proud to be on the board. She also expressed thanks to all the teachers saying it is a tough job they do right now.

Emily Transtrum had nothing to add.

Chairman Passey mentioned he has a stack of thank you’s from young people mentioning gratitude and thanks for the animals at the FFA and 4-H activity.

The board then went into Executive Session to discuss personnel and to deliberate acquisition of an interest in real property. {span} Although the board was not expecting to make any decisions in the execution session, after the executive session the board made and approved a motion for management to look into an interest in real property.{/span}

The meeting was then adjourned.

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