RPMH to implement hospitalist program

The Nolan County Hospital District Board of Directors met for its regular meeting on Monday evening, April 25, 2011 at the Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital.Newly appointed board member Jose Villafranca was sworn in at the meeting. Administering the oath of office to Villafranca was Board Chairman Carlos Alvarado.During the meeting, two topics generated a great deal of discussion, the Phase Two portion of the Energy Services Project/Building Improvement Project, which consists of the renovation of the Medical Surgical Unit, and the proposed Hospitalist Program.Some changes were discussed for Phase Two of the project since it was reviewed at the recent Strategic Planning meeting held on Tuesday, April 12. Currently, the timeline for the completion of Phase Two is December 2012. Proceeding with both phases simultaneously will result in savings in excess of $100,000 over the life of the project. The new change order was presented to the board which will eliminate a time gap and reduce costs in order to meet a February deadline set by the hospital staff. After discussion, the board approved the second phase of the facility upgrades.Also discussed in great detail was the consideration and approval of a hospitalist program for a term of one year with EmCare. During this time the concept will be evaluated for effectiveness. It was reported by administration that references from two like-sized facilities were obtained with both facilities giving high marks to both EmCare Inpatient Services and hospitalist programs. Hospitalists are doctors whose practice consists entirely of caring for hospitalized patients. They work closely with patients’ family physicians, communicating with the family physicians prior to admission and upon discharge in order to maintain good continuity of care. Their accessibility to inpatients can have a positive effect on patient care through ready access in the hospital and on the doctor’s practicing in their offices by avoiding interruptions in the office. With the potential start date set for this August, positive feedback has been received from both the local physicians and hospital staff. Because of the timing and impact on the community, the board stressed how crucial it is to promote the changes and inform the community in advance. The board then approved the hospitalist program.Approvals were given during the meeting over a range of issues as well. The financial statements from March 2011 were reviewed and approved, with the month standing as one of the highest revenue months overall in some time. A variety of departments came in over projections and year to date, the financial standing is considerably greater than the previous year.In addition to the financial statements, the March 2011 accounts payable and payroll, along with the month's bad debt write-off list were reviewed and approved. And while no action was taken, analysis over two funds were presented. The Reserve Fund and Physical Therapy Fund were reviewed from the previous quarter ending on March 30, both showing substantial growth.The minutes from the previous meetings were also reviewed and approved, and the board approved the quarterly Quality Report which was presented at the previous meeting, the Physician Credentialing files and another Quality Report. In the Administrator's Report, a variety of updates were given, including an update on the Facility Plan. A company based in Abilene has been currently surveying the building during the hospital's renovations so that the opening of bids can begin.The company over the remodel, McKinstry, is continuing their work alongside another company in order to work on the air ducts. A schedule is currently being finalized and while the lab facility will be slightly affected by the remodel, a shut down will not occur during that time.As a result of the newly installed freezer, the hospital has seen some unanticipated savings. The water consumption use has drastically decreased anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 gallons a day, equating to a $100/day savings in water and sewer costs.Due to the 2010 Census, a redistricting review is projected to take place this summer with a law firm out of Waco overseeing the matter. Not much work is assumed to result from the review, but the board was informed of the review and will be discussing redistricting in greater detail at the next meeting.Also to be discussed at the next meeting is a draft with information from the Strategic Action meeting, which was presented to board members during the meeting and will be considered and approved next month. Along with the items on next month's agenda will be to select a new chairperson for the board by way of a committee consisting of some of the board members.The board was also informed of some upcoming events in May, such as National Hospital Week on May 8-14. National Nurses Week overlaps the week, kicking off with National Nurses Day on May 6, and running through the 12th of May.