Optimistic financial outlook for RPMH

The Nolan County Hospital District (NCHD) Board of Directors met for its regular monthly meeting on Monday evening, March 28, at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital.At the meeting, the board opted to cancel the 2011 NCHD Board of Directors election. Because the candidates were unopposed in three positions — in Districts 3, 4 and 7, the board approved the cancellation.In other new business presented during the meeting, approval was given to accept the RPMH Performance Improvement Plan. The Home Health PI Plan and Home Health A.A. and Alternative & Assisted Services PI Plan were reviewed and approved as well, due to a slight change in wording.Also approved was the Nursing Staffing Committee Report. It was noted that four additional nurses have been selected to serve in the committee, and various ideas were presented and offered during the last meeting.The board also appointed a new interim director for District 6, something which was presented at a past meeting. While several names were presented and discussed among the board, the final decision was made for Jose Villafranca to serve in that capacity.A variety of other approvals were given, including the minutes from the previous meeting. Regarding finances, the board approved the February 2011 accounts payable and payroll, the bad debt write-off list, and the financial statements. Year to date, the overall financial outlook was reported as very optimistic. For the total revenue in the month of February, outpatient costs came in over budget, while inpatient costs were under budget. Overall revenue reductions came in under budget as well, and only a .1% change was reported in operating expenses.During the Administrator's Report, the status of the "Meaningful Use" program was presented, a plan that provides incentive payments to hospitals for good use of their technology. Participation begins this year, and two sets of objectives have to be met. In meeting all of the requirements, huge financial incentives are to be gained with the Meaningful Use program.The first set includes 14 objectives in which all have to be met. Five objectives are still in the process of being met, due in part to some training that is still needed. Some of the objectives coincide with each other in order to be met, while some of the programs for the objective to be attained have just begun.The other group of objectives, the Menu Set, have 10 steps and only five have to be fulfilled. Right now, only four of the ten are in compliance, yet similar to the first objective set, required training and objectives that run simultaneously need to be completed. Data also needs to be compiled for some objectives, while another objective many not be required if the state is not prepared.In addition to the Administrator's Report, a state fund was received, as well as an additional grant. The grant will be used for the Med/Surg renovation, and conceptual designs for the renovations were on hand for the board members to view. Because of the Census, it was also reported that talks on redistricting would begin soon. In regards to marketing, it was noted that a recent survey was completed, and a reminder was given that Wednesday, March 30 is National Doctor's Day.Another report, the Medical Staff Report, was also given in the meeting. A brief discussion was held regarding potential changes in hospital inpatient duties, and dialogue was exchanged about appropriate privileges for nurse practitioners and physician assistants.