Hospital updating equipment

The Nolan County District Board of Directors met for its final regular session meeting in 2010 on Monday evening, Dec. 27, at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital (RPMH).With a new year only a few days away, the board sought approval to purchase four new items. The new Core Measure Software would assist in gathering information for the quality reports that are presented to the board. This time-saving tool pulls information directly from the database and would be needed for the new year. Another purchase, the Nuclear Medicine Equipment would replace the current equipment, which is several years old. The new equipment comes with added capabilities and will be able to perform more tasks than what is already in place. The Vascular Ultrasound Equipment, which comes with an almost 50% price discount, would replace the current system which is a number of years old. Along with its current tasks, the new equipment can perform various tasks simultaneously. The final purchase would be for the B. Braun IV Pumps. Because the current pumps are up to 10 years old, they can no longer be serviced. The new pumps would also come with a software that promises to be of great assistance to the staff as well as other hospitals who use the same pumps, such as Hendrick in Abilene, when transfers take place. All four purchases were approved by the board.Also approved were the finances from November 2010, including the accounts payable and payroll, and the bad debt write-off list for the month. The financial statement from November was approved and was concluded to be a "great financial statement". The overall revenue came in over budget, with a very good outpatient revenue and a busy month in the ER. Only a few facets of the budget came in under expectations. The revenue reductions looked very good for the month; the operating expenses came in with no surprises, with a few over budget and a few under budget. The tax collections for the month were at $227,508, also over expectations. November proved to be the biggest revenue month in the past 12 months — a great improvement from last year, and overall the finances did better than budgeted. The board was pleased to discover that the budget for the year is only a mere $21 off of projections, which was concluded to be the very best in quite some time.Along with the monthly finances, the budget revisions for 2011 were presented. There were some price increases to be reported, including the OR, ER, and CAT scan departments. The Lab department came in with the highest increase. Revenue reductions will be higher for next year, as well as operating expenses. Sub-categories to be raised in the operating expenses will be physician fees, repairs, maintenance, rentals and leases in the OR. However, the price increases in 2011 will be offset by raising the bad debt expenses.A report from the nurse staffing committee was presented during the meeting. The report concluded that things are going well overall and will continue on with no changes to be made. However, the nurse staffing committee was complimented by hospital administrator Donna Boatright for their creative use of staffing during a past shortage of workers recently. No staff or patient injuries were reported, but there is currently two staff openings.The Quality Report was also given, with a presentation on a national satisfaction survey known as the HCAHPS. The first quarter of 2008 through the first quarter of 2010 were highlighted, covering the patient's expectations for the nurses, doctors and facilities. RPMH is still consistently above state averages in patient satisfaction, leading to an application process for the Texas Health Care Quality Improvement Award. To be considered for the Gold Award, the hospital should be above 90% for performance measures and above the national rates for mortality and readmissions. It was also noted during the quality report that in April of 2012, the hospital will be surveyed. Criteria to be examined during this time will be communication, assessment and core services, staffing and patient safety. Various areas of the facilities such as the hospital, the lab and home care will be looked at during the survey, specifically at different priority focus areas and clinical service groups. Another survey examining the lab will take place in 2012 and the two will briefly overlap each other.During the administrator's report, the board was informed that Dr. Ronnie W. Dennis, OB/GYN, had 20 surgical cases in the month of November. Dr. Maria Toro, MD, will be closing her practice soon, but transfers will be made to other doctors within Rolling Plains Rural Health Clinic. It was also noted that a strategic planning retreat would be scheduled sometime during the spring for the board, where topics including physician recruitment would be discussed.Also approved at the meeting were the five doctors included in the physician credentialing files presented during the medical staff report. The minutes of last month's meeting and the minutes from a Special Called Board meeting held on Dec. 7, were approved as well.