GRANGEVILLE Syringa Hospital representatives recently spent several hours working on disaster planning – from fires and ice-storms to attacks and school emergencies.
At the August meeting, the hospital board discussed a “table top” disaster preparedness activity that took place late this summer and involved many local entities.
“One thing we definitely saw was the problem with a lack of communication between agencies,” reported CNO Alex Frei.
This communication gap between organizations is something that will continue to be worked on to find solutions, he said.
“I see the [Idaho County] sheriff’s office was notably absent from this exercise – how would it have benefited the discussion had they been there?” board vice chair Steve Didier questioned.
Frei said having all agencies present is paramount in planning, and added the county’s emergency dispatch was involved.
Didier said he was glad to hear of dispatch involvement.
“I just feel if the sheriff’s office is not involved, there is a huge fracture in the EMS system of communication,” Didier added.
Board member Jerry Zumalt said he feels part of the reason for their absence could be due to staffing.
“I don’t want to make excuses, but I know it’s tough,” he said.
“I believe they are stretched,” added board chair Al Bolden.
Head of maintenance and EMT Bill Spencer also spoke on the table top service and the importance of an incident command system.
“The worst thing to say is, ‘bring all the patients here,’” he said. “You’re just moving the disaster from one scene to another.” He discussed the importance of planning and knowing what other hospitals are able to do and what specialists are on staff.
Spencer also spoke to a question from board member Jim May regarding the need for EMS workers.
“In the last two years in Grangeville we have had some younger members join and it’s been a real blessing,” Spencer said.
In other news, Syringa’s CFO and interim CEO Betty Watson presented a $21 million budget to the board which was accepted unanimously.
Syringa’s largest budget item includes salaries and wages ($7.8 million), employee benefits ($1.9 million), professional fees ($662,000), utilities ($265,000) and supplies ($1 million). Budgeted for property tax revenue for the Syringa district for the coming year is approximately $460,000.
To see a full budget, contact Watson at Syringa at 983-1700. The budget was printed in the Free Press Aug. 16.
Medical chief of staff Dr. Matthew Told reported to the board news within the medical staff and said he is proud of Syringa for its focus on quality.
“I really feel we are on the edge of greatness,” he said. “My goal is to keep going and add on to the clinic clear to the road.”
The clinic will be host to an open house during Oktoberfest for the public to view the newly remodeled reception, waiting and exam room areas.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday, Sept. 26, 12:30 p.m., Soltman Center. The public is invited to attend.