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Northfield Hospital Board Observer Reports

Northfield Hospital Board Meeting - November 17, 2016

November 19, 2016 at 11:41 am
By Dave Emery


1. Board Chair, James Schlichting called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. The Agenda was approved.

2. The session opened with a special presentation by Summit Orthopedics, one of the 3 large orthopedic specialty clinics in the Metro area.  Dr. Shepley from the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic (O&FC) in Northfield explained that the Northfield clinic planned to join Summit Orthopedics.  The O&FC has grown from 2 physicians to 5, and has been seeking to expand into the southern suburbs of the Metro area.  Summit Orthopedics has been seeking to expand to the south of the Metro area.  There are longstanding personal and professional ties between physicians in the two clinics, and the merger will facilitate adapting to the rapidly changing market for orthopedic services.  A number of details remain to be resolved, but the merger is anticipated to occur by Jan. 1, 2017.  Summit currently has 32 orthopedic MDs, most with subspecialties, and the services of these subspecialists would become more available to people in the Northfield area. The O&FC would continue to provide a wide range of services to the Northfield area, and continue to utilize the Northfield Hospital for most surgeries.  Adam Berry, CEO of Summit, said that Summit intends to build off the existing services and practice patterns in the area.   NH&C’S planning for a new surgical center in the region has been put on hold until after the merger.     



1. Hospital Chief of Staff—Dr. Holt.  No report.

A motion to approve the applications for Medical Staff membership was passed.

2. Chief Medical Officer—Dr. Jeff Meland.  The medical staff has selected its “Physician of the Year”.  An announcement will be forthcoming.

3. Family Health Clinic Medical Director—Dr. Ben Flannery. Recruiting efforts continue.  “We want the right fit.”  Team-based care has started at the clinics and both physicians and staff are excited about the changes.     

4. Allina Clinic Medical Director Report—No report.

5. Mayo Report—No report.

6. City Business Update—No report. 

7. CFO Report—Scott Edin.  The facilities continue to be busy.  Both Revenue and Operating Income were above budget levels.  Net Income YTD is 5 times the budgeted level.  Cash-on-hand stands at 234 days.  NH&C “hit the sweet spot” in refinancing its debt; interest rates have increased significantly since the refinancing.  Employment at NH&C is up across the board, as is productivity. 

8.   CEO Report—Steve Underdahl.  The Wall honoring Ken Bank will be dedicated on Tuesday, Dec. 13th at 4:00 p.m.  The uncertainty regarding the Affordable Care Act is making it difficult to plan.  The ACA has many features that benefit the population of this area and NH&C, e.g. health insurance coverage for low-income families and having college students insured by parents.  The planning for expansion of obstetric services continues and a new MD is scheduled to arrive in March.  The mental health demands put on the hospital continue to be a problem.   A new study, putting forth best practice protocols for psychiatric medications, will help improve patient care.  Reengineering and modernization of Home Health and Hospice continues.  A check was presented to Northfield Public Schools to fund the purchase of heart monitors/Fitbits.  The idea is to train students to monitor their own biofeedback so they can recognize stress levels while exercising.  Utilization of the Sleep Center is above projections.  Projections were reduced when some insurers  mandated home monitoring of sleep.  But it appears that home monitoring is quite often followed by monitoring in a sleep center and the insurer ends up paying for both.   

The “TEDMED Live” broadcasts are returning to the Northfield High School. The broadcasts feature a series of TED talks related to health and health care.   The series runs from Wednesday, Nov. 30th to Friday, Dec. 2nd.   Tickets to the 4 sessions are free, but reservations are required.  Online, go to to make a reservation.  The programs are jointly sponsored by the Northfield School District and Northfield Hospital and Clinics.      

9. Community Relations Committee—Steve O’Neill.  The committee met and proposed changes to the guidelines for community health donations.  The changes will come to the Board in Dec.  The committee also heard a report on the local branding efforts.

Consent Agenda

The consent agenda was passed.  Items on the agenda included:  Minutes for the October Board meeting; Minutes for the Oct. meeting of the Governance and Planning Committee; and Board approval of Policies and Practices.  


Presentations/Discussions/Action Items

1. Revision to Hospital Bylaws—James Schlichting.  Schlichting walked the Board through a series of proposed revisions to the Bylaws.  The proposal on Conflict of Interest raised several questions, e.g. “What is the meaning of ‘real property’?”  “What is the penalty for violating the Bylaw?  The proposal to designate the Governance and Planning Committee as the Nominating Committee also raised questions.  “Does this create a closed loop—where the insiders nominate the other insiders?  “Is there equal opportunity to lead?”  Underdahl commented that in his experience, one must recruit leaders for non-profit-organizations, rather than discourage candidates.  The Board will vote upon the proposed changes at the December meeting. A 2/3 majority is required for passage. 

2. Board Development Plan—James Schlichting.  Schlichting proposed that the Board create a document that identifies the various talents, backgrounds, and representation that best serve the interests of NH&C and the community.  The document would go to the Mayor and hopefully might guide future appointments to the Board.  If the Board lobbied the Mayor regarding a vacancy it would be to fill a specific niche, rather than appoint a specific person.  The Board will consider this proposal again in Dec.  


Pending Items

Charlie Mandile asked Board members to list the committees where they would like to serve, and to nominate persons for Board leadership.  Board members were encouraged to nominate themselves. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Next meeting:  December 15, 2016. 

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