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Northfield Hospital Board Meeting - April 24, 2014

April 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm
By Dave Emery

Medical Staff Reports

1. Chief of Staff—Dr. O’Halloran: Dr. O’Halloran reported that the Medical Staff had met and approved several policy changes.  Dr. O’Halloran alerted the Board to a problem with policy for granting physicians “courtesy privileges”.  A number of physicians live in Northfield but their practice is elsewhere.  These physicians would like to be able to attend to their patient when one is hospitalized in Northfield.

2. Clinic Medical Director Report—Dr. Flannery: Dr. Flannery reported that discussions are continuing with Mayo to have specialists from Mayo available at the clinics periodically. Discussions are continuing with Allina regarding a shared call system.

3. Allina Clinic Report—Dr. Keith Olson:  Steve Underdahl reported that Allina is still recruiting for additional MDs.

4.  CMO Report—Dr. Jeff Meland: Dr. Meland reported that progress is being made on coverage for evenings and weekends.  Dr. Meland also reported that the “pit crew approach” used by NH&C for resuscitation is being adopted across the state. 


City Business Report

Council Person David Delong reported the search for a new city administrator is on track.  Mr. Delong thanked the hospital for the audit report they presented to the City Council


Special Presentations

A.  Dr. Jon Pryor, CEO of HCMC, and Brenda Anderson, Trauma Manager, of HCMC presented a Trauma Team Excellence Award to the Trauma Team at NH&C, and thanked NH&C for their teamwork and collaboration.

B.  Mr. Jerry Ehn, COO NH&C, reported on three projects underway.

  1. Development of assessment tools that will promote the sustainability of the clinics.
  2. Development of workload indicators to enable the institution to match resources to the necessary work.
  3. Development of indicators to monitor the macro performance of the institution including staffing and finances as well as quality of care and patient safety.

The processes are taking longer than initially envisioned, but the results are expected to justify the additional effort.

C. CEO Steve Underdahl reported that the pre-planning for the building project is also taking longer than hoped as a much broader range of options is being investigated.  Many of the options involve partnering with other providers, and that is a slow process. 


Action Items

  1. The Board approved the minutes of the March 14, 2014 Board Retreat and the minutes of the March 2014 regular Board meeting.
  2. The Board approved the applications for Medical Staff membership.  One application was held back while the policies governing courtesy memberships are reconsidered. 
  3. The Board approved 2 personnel changes in committee membership.

4.   CEO Steve Underdahl reported on the continuing development of a new strategic plan for NH&C.  The presentation was too quick and detailed for me to record all the material.   Below are some highlights.

  • Mission: Provide exceptional healthcare to the communities we serve.
  • Vision: Become an exceptional healthcare system.
  • Strategic Priority #1.  Become a high-value organization.  This priority includes improving patient access, improving “transparency” regarding prices and costs, expanding patient-centered technology, and cutting costs.
  • Strategic Priority #2. Refine and enhance stakeholder relationships.
  • Strategic Priority #3.  Prepare our clinical and business services to thrive in the emerging environment.


Discussion Items

1. Chair Charlie Kyte distributed a list of priorities set by each of the Board committees.

2.  Chair Charlie Kyte described the CEO evaluation process to be used this year, the first year of service for CEO Underdahl.   The process will include 3 steps.

  • A 360 overview by Board members, direct reports, medical staff, etc.
  • A self-evaluation by the CEO with linked goals and data.
  • A salary adjustment process

CEO Underdahl told the Board that an assessment of what the CEO has accomplished relative to what needed to be done during the past year would be most helpful to him.  The Governance and Planning Committee will review the information collected and bring a recommendation to the Board.  Chair Kyte explained that in future years, evaluation of the CEO will be closely tied to achievement of the institutional and personal goals set by the Board for the CEO. 


Information Items

1.  The Board reduced the number of persons authorized to sign bank transactions for the institution.  The change was made in response to new reporting regulations imposed on the banks.

2.  Committee Reports

  • Community Relations—Steve O’Neil: The committee met and discussed the committee mission, procedures, and organization.   
  • Government and Planning—James Schlichting: covered above.  
  • Budget and Finance—Charlie Austin:  covered above.   
  • Quality Committee—Gina Franklin: The Committee approved a job description for itself to be presented at the next Board meeting.  

3.  Administrative Reports

  • CFO Report—Tim Gronseth.  The hospital was busy in March. Revenue was at budget, but net income was above budget.  Much of the unexpected gain came from non-operating sources.  Medicare unexpectedly extended its low-volume payment program for another year, which benefits NH&C.  Also the hospital collected a significant amount from tax refunds due to persons who owed money to NH&C.  This is one of the benefits from being a city-owned hospital.  CFO Gronseth reported that his administrative staff is spending more time working with patients having difficulty meeting the high-deductibles in the health insurance plan they chose.  
  • CMO Report—Jeff Meland.  No further comments.



1.The Hospital Auxiliary Book Fair is in progress.  Members were urged to stop and shop.

2.  The Board met in closed session following the conclusion of the regular monthly meeting to approve the minutes from the latest strategic planning session. 


  • April 29 2014 at 11:51 pm
    Bonnie Jean Flom

    Thank you for your thorough reporting on this very important Board, David.

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