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GRANGEVILLE — The Syringa Hospital Board of Trustees met Oct. 28 at the Soltman Center, with discussions built around leadership and taking a mask-wearing stance within the community, as reported in an earlier story.

In addition to the trustee discussion, leaders gave reports in a variety of areas, including the following:

• Director of facilities Bill Spencer said they have “completed the install of all the UV/C lights in the HVAC units which will not only help during the COVID crisis, but also with flu and cold season in our buildings.”

“We are also working on some new outdoor signage that should reduce walk-ins through the emergency department area,” he added. “I would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our housekeeping department. Due to possible rule out of COVID patients, they are having to do ‘terminal clean’ of a significant number of patient rooms, ED rooms, and ambulance. This is usually in the middle of the night and then they show up at 5:30 a.m. to do their regular work. They do this with a smile on their face and a commitment to keep our patients and staff safe!”

Spencer noted that several area EMS agencies are struggling with keeping their programs viable.

In Grangeville, Spencer noted that Jerry Haaland decided not to recertify this year.

“Jerry has been an EMT provider for more than 42 years, of which 40 were at Syringa. Jerry kept volunteering his time but … decided it was time to quit getting up in the middle of night or working on a patient in the middle of a snowstorm along U.S. Highway 95. I just wanted to recognize his dedication to serving the communities and if you see him please thank him for his years of service.”

• Chief Nursing Officer Margretta Fortin reported, “The nursing floor/ED continue to operate in this pandemic without too much trouble. We have learned that the manpower it takes to provide care for COVID-19 patients is extremely time consuming. The entire team has done a remarkable job so far in staying safe and taking infection prevention measures seriously.”

She said all departments continue to request and receive equipment that facilitates the safety of employees and patients during the pandemic.

“Much appreciation to [CFO] Betty Watson for her timely resolutions on our requests,” Fortin added.

• Syringa Foundation Director and thrift store manager Kristi Brooks reported that thrift store fourth quarter sales were down 10 percent, or $3,600.

“I believe it is due to our mask requirement. Even with softer gross sales we essentially were flat for net income with a loss of $230 for the quarter -- 98 percent of the customer base has complied and been very good about the mask requirement,” Brooks said. “We have had a few who choose to make the challenge. They are politely asked to wear a mask or exit the store.”

The Syringa Foundation Board welcomes new member Emily Musick.

• Director of clinic operations Michelle Schaeffer reported the walk-in clinic visits have been continuing to increase since extending the hours. Monday through Friday the WIC is offered from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with two locations offered for well and unwell patients.

“Mondays and Thursdays are trending to be the highest volume days,” she said. “We will continue to look at this and schedule accordingly.”

• Chief financial officer Betty Watson reported charges written off as bad debt and sent to collection were $38,288, or 1.9 percent of gross charges.

Kootenai Health management services agreement fees were $20,070.

“September’s statements include $69,723 of expense related to COVID-19 that was transferred from the HHS Stimulus liability to operating grant income,” Watson explained.

As of Sept. 30, Syringa had utilized $1,574,353 of the HHS stimulus funds. $1,415,961 in lost revenue due to COVID-19 and $158,393 in COVID-19 related expense.

YTD gross patient revenues were $22,874,010; 8.9 percent ($2,244,017) below projections of $25,118,027. Total operating revenues were $16,497,579; .2 percent ($24,006) below projections of $16,521,585.

• Chief executive officer Abner King reported that as of the meeting Oct.28, Syringa had tested 61 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.

“Twenty-four of those have been within the past two weeks,” he said.

As of Oct. 14, Idaho County has 267 total positive COVID-19 cases, up from 53 positive cases a month ago. Of the 267 total cases in Idaho County, 182 are classified as active or open cases and 85 are classified as recovered.

“We are aware of two positive COVID patient deaths,” he said. “These deaths will not show up on the county statistics until the Health District receives official death certificates.”

He said, “While we have not run out of any specific PPE items to date, we continue to have limited deliveries on isolation gowns, and our inventory of sanitary wipes remains critically low. Our inventory of gloves rises and falls as we receive our monthly allocations.”

He also explained Brian Lee, with Custom Learning Systems Group, would be conducting a two-day service excellence seminar on Oct. 28-29.

“This training is designed to significantly improve our patient satisfaction and employee engagement,” he said.

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