Northfield Hospital Board Meeting for May 2020

The May Board Meeting was a Webex Virtual meeting arranged by the hospitals IT staff.  Not all Board members were simultaneously visible on line, so some procedures needed adjusting.  The agenda was deliberately kept short.


  1. Steve O’Neill called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m. The Agenda and Consent Agenda were approved. The items included in the Consent Agenda did not appear on my screen.


  1. Hospital Chief of Staff—Dr. Tom Holt. No report. Dr. Holt presented the applications for Medical Staff Membership/Privileges. Applications approved.


Presentations/Discussions/Action Items

  1. Hyperbaric Oxygen Wound Program Business Plan—Scott Edin.This was the initial presentation for a potential new service line to be voted on at the June Board meeting.  The service would address chronic wounds that don’t heal with standard procedures. It was estimated that there were about 2800 potential patients in the NH&C service area that translates into an estimated 300 patients for the service, with no major competitors.   Several firms provide hyperbaric services to hospitals under a variety of payment arrangements.  Healogics is the leader in providing hyperbaric management services nationwide.  It provides the necessary equipment and assists in the training of staff.  Healogics would provide the equipment for a per-use fee.  Adding the service would require NH&C to spend about $750,000 renovating space below the Birthing Center.  It was estimated that the service would more than cover costs.  In response to questions, Edin said that NH&C could become more independent as it gained experience.


Executive and Committee Reports

  1. CEO Report—Steve Underdahl. a) Coronavirus. There is obviously some “cognitive dissonance” in the public messaging and in the public’s responses.  As reopening gets underway it is very difficult.  Success will require personal and collective vigilance, and a willingness to dial back the process if necessary.  All 3 operating rooms at the hospital will be in service next week as nonessential surgery is becoming necessary.  The Express Care Center in Northfield and the Urgent Care Center in Lakeville will remain closed for a while.  b) Strategic.  Crises force an institution to focus on the daily problems, but it is important to continue strategic thinking.  A Post Covid work team has been formed.  Consultants are beginning to identify “best practices,” such as digital health, that will likely continue after the crisis.  Some facilities are now experiencing 40% digital visits.  A reevaluation of the services provided by NH&C may be necessary.  c) Building. The building projects are on schedule. IT services has been busy improving the COVID screening processes at NH&C.  A smart phone app has been developed and electronic screeners are being installed on outside doors.  d) The supply chain process has been working very well during the crisis.  e) Staff.  We owe a debt of gratitude to the staff.  These are stressful times for them as distancing often forces staff to serve as surrogate family.  The staff has transitioned from a “crisis” mode to a “marathon” mode;” they are more optimistic and focused on the long-term challenges.  “”The hospital is not going to go under.”
  2. Financial Report—Scott Edin. Some services were busy—nursing home, hospice, and birthing. Other services were 70% or more below budgeted levels.  Operating income for April was a loss of $1.17 million.  Non operating income (portfolio gains) was positive $1.64 million, resulting in a Net Income of +$468,000.


(My Comment: hospital finances are complicated as dollars on the income statement come from several sources.  Net Operating Revenue is the amount received primarily from providing patient services: +$6.762 M in April.  Non Operating Income is primarily the gains or losses resulting from changes in the value of a portfolio of stocks and bonds held by NH&C: +$1.64 M in April, but -$1.9M in March when stock prices fell significantly. A third source is grants from the Federal or State government, totaling   $8.1 M thus far in 2020.  NH&C recognizes the grant funds on the income statement only as it incurs COVID related expenses.  COVID related expenses were $1.4M in April so $1.4 M of Other Revenue was recognized. This leaves $6.7 M of the Federal grants remaining unrecognized on Income Statements. The funds may be added later as more COVID related expenses are incurred or patient revenue declines.)   

Meeting adjourned at 6:38 pm.

Next meeting:  June 25, 2020.

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