Syringa Hospital board works on affiliation wording

‘VOC’ identified as underground fuel tank

Syringa Hospital

Syringa Hospital

— Wording was the topic of discussion at the monthly Syringa Hospital board meeting July 25.

The conversation revolved around the affiliation agreement with Kootenai Health.

“I kind of feel both attorneys [for Syringas and Kootenai] missed the boat on this one,” said board vice-chair Steve Didier of Kooskia, referring to the “Resource Affiliation Agreement” title.

“We have always talked about a ‘management services agreement,’” he emphasized.

Although semantics to some, others understand the plan is for the latter.

“I agree the title they gave it does not really speak to what we are doing,” said board chair Al Bolden of White Bird.

Didier reiterated the hospitals already have an affiliation agreement and this is the next step in that process that includes management, help in finding and retaining a CEO.

After several phases of discussion, the board voted unanimously to send the “Management Services Agreement” on to Kootenai’s board so they can read it over.

Board member Leta Strauss brought up the need to use the recently completed strategic plan as a “working document.”

“I believe this will help us better plan for public review and seek public input,” she said.

Didier agreed.

“We can sit down, look at the metrics and start utilizing the plan as it should be,” he said.

Director of clinic operations Michelle Schaeffer reported the Kooskia Clinic service lines and patient volumes have increased and there is a need of some improvements at the building to improve privacy and security.

“We are discussing these suggested improvements with building owner Barry Ruark,” she explained.

Director of Facilities Bill Spencer explained the odor or “VOC” (volatile organic compound) issue at the VA Clinic has been identified. Able Cleanup Technology out of Lewiston helped identify and clean out an underground fuel tank that was in place for years.

“We hope to move the VA staff back very soon,” he said. The clinic staff has been temporarily housed at the primary clinic.

Spencer also reported the summer EMS/EMT staffing has been “extremely tight.”

“We are also working with Dr. Jessup and expanding our scope of practice to include Narcan for opiod overdoses,” Spencer reported.

Additional changes are also occurring, he said, as it has been proven backboards for trauma patients can do more harm than good.

In a written report, foundation director JoAnne Smith reported thrift store volunteers contributed 660.5 hours in June. Monthly sales of $12,445 were 4 percent above June a year ago, and expenses were 2 percent lower, resulting in net income that was up 12 percent at $7,551. The shop is in the process of hiring a part-time cashier to help on Saturdays.

CFO and interim CEO Betty Watson reported $87,027 was written off as bad debt and sent to collections.

Year-to-date OB patient days increased by 16.3 percent from last year, while swingbed patient days decreased by 22.8 percent. Surgeries were down 27 percent while OP procedures were up by 67.7 percent. Anesthesia minutes were up by 30.7 percent and CT scans were up by 22.6 percent. Ultrasound exams were down by 19.5 percent, and hospice days were up by 37.8 percent.

Grangeville primary clinic activity was up by 6.8 percent and Kooskia Clinic had a 9.7 percent increase while the VA Clinic saw a 13.3 percent drop.

The next meeting is set for Tuesday, Aug. 22, 12:30 p.m., Soltman Center, and is open to the public.

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