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‘A great service for the residents’ — SH board talks on manning Elk City Clinic twice monthly

' definitely a significant interest from our providers'

Syringa board vice-chair Steve Didier, Kooskia, (right) speaks about open meeting laws while EMT Bill Spencer (left) listens.

Photo by Lorie Palmer
Syringa board vice-chair Steve Didier, Kooskia, (right) speaks about open meeting laws while EMT Bill Spencer (left) listens.

— It’s possible Elk City may soon have medical care at its fingertips twice a month.

Currently, St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood staffs the Elk City Clinic one day a month.

“The Elk City Area Alliance approached us in the possibility of providing another day of care,” Syringa CEO Abner King told the board of trustees at the May 22 meeting.

Syringa Hospital key statistics for April:

*Syringa Clinic visits were up 4.1 percent from last year; Kooskia Clinic visits were up 16.3 percent; and VA clinic visits were down 3.1 percent.

*OB patient days are down 40 percent; swing bed patient days were up 55.3 percent; newborn patient days were down 50 percent; and deliveries were down 42.9 percent.

*Lab tests were up 9.8 percent; CT scans were up 10.8 percent; MRI exams were up 11.1 percent; X-rays were up 1.9 percent; ultrasounds are down 7 percent; and Dexa exams are up 53.7 percent.

*Hospice days are up 36.2 percent; ER visits are up 4.9 percent; and ambulance runs are down 2.6 percent.

King stated though this is ultimately an operations decision, he wanted to inform the board.

“There is a compelling argument to do this as it does help fulfill our mission,” he said.

Director of clinic operations Michelle Schaeffer said when the idea was brought to the medical staff, they were “excited about the possibility of practicing this type of frontier medicine.”

“There was definitely a significant interest from our providers,” she said.

King said there are about 100 patients at Syringa’s primary clinic in Grangeville who have Elk City zip codes.

“I’m sure this would be a great service for the residents of that area,” he added.

Board member Leta Strauss of Grangeville asked about the facility.

“It’s dated, but nice,” Dr. Matthew Told answered. He and Schaeffer recently visited the site. He said it has two exam rooms and an office area and all the basics needed to see patients.

King said he has visited with St. Mary’s leadership who is supportive of the endeavor as well.

“Aside from the alliance, is there the broader community support?” trustee Jerry Zumalt of Grangeville asked.

Schaeffer said, “Yes. And down the road there’s a possibility to think of perhaps adding oral health and just adding to the overall health care of people in that area, looking beyond what Syringa can provide.”

Other board members mentioned dentists and optometrists as future possibilities.

In other news:

  • • Board vice-chair Steve Didier, Kooskia, passed out information regarding open meeting laws.
  • • Dana Greig, CR/marketing coordinator, reported 4,959 inserts containing information on the Syringa Clinic Pharmacy were placed in The Shopper and distributed to Grangeville, Kooskia and White Bird May 2.
  • • Staff participated in a spring clean-up May 15 along the highway near the golf course.
  • • Schaeffer reported PA Mike Lousbury withdrew his application to the Grangeville VA Clinic. Syringa will continue to look for a provider to fill this role. She and CEO King both gave accolades to PA Derek Wynn for stepping in to cover the VA clinic.
  • • Director of facilities Bill Spencer reported on the mass casualty training held May 17, and thanked everyone involved.
  • “This was an inclusive drill and it’s been more than 30 years since we’ve done one this size,” he said.
  • • Syringa Foundation Executive Director Kristi Brooks said the foundation is reviewing funding the pharmacy hood. The cost on this would be $15,000.
  • She also reported the thrift store had a “great April,” with sales up 9 percent and expenses down 20 percent.
  • • Chief financial officer Betty Watson reported charges written off as bad debt at $56,063. Kootenai Health management fees for April were $21,749.


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