Northfield Hospital Board Meeting for May 2021

The May Board Meeting was a Webex Virtual meeting arranged by the hospitals IT staff.  The Board Chair, Fred Rogers, called the meeting to order at 5:00 p.m.  Rogers thanked Lynn Clayton for his service on the Board as this was Clayton’s last meeting.  The Board presented Clayton with a plaque to commemorate his service.   

Opening & Reports    

The Consent Agenda was approved.  Items on the Consent Agenda included: a) Budget and Finance Committee Meeting Minutes, Summary of April Board Closed Session to Evaluate the CEO, and revisions to the Medical Staff Manual. 

Chief of Staff Report:  Dr. Monty Seper.   Applications for Medical Staff membership and privileges were approved. 

Presentation/Discussion/Action Items

1.  Hospital Asphalt Replacement Project—Scott Edin.  The asphalt around the Emergency Dept. and Helipad needs replacing.  Edin recommended approval of a bid for $125,000.  The Board approved the project.

2.  Revision of Capital Expenditure Policy—Steve Underdahl.  Underdahl recommended that the dollar figure for capital projects requiring Board approval be raised from $100,000 to $250,000.   A motion was made.  Projects such as the one above rarely require Board input but occupy time during Board meetings.  Also, these projects are listed in the Annual Capital Budget that is passed by the Board.  The motion was passed with a request that the Board receive a quarterly report on projects in the gap as they are funded.     

2. Charter Commission Update—Steve Underdahl.   The Charter Commission approved the two changes requested by the Board.  A public hearing on the measures is scheduled for June 15th and then the measures go to the City Council for a vote.  Unanimous approval by the Council is required.  

Executive and Committee Reports

1. CEO Report—Steve Underdahl.  a) COVID:  There were no COVID patients in the hospital during the past 5 days. Mass vaccinations are phasing out in favor of clinical settings.  Underdahl listed 4 obstacles that are delaying vaccinations; skepticism, inconvenience, inequalities in the distribution system, and a desire to let everyone else try it first.  NH&C has created a series of story-videos to address the various concerns in the community.  b) Strategic: The re-engineering projects at the Farmington Clinic and the Women’s Health Center are going well and appear to be meeting patient needs.   c) Operations:  Patient volumes and revenue are up as COVID restrictions are relaxed.  d) Policy: NH&C opposes an unfunded mandate on employers to retroactively provide benefits to essential workers.  Instead, the benefits should be funded with some of the grant funds that are available.  Telemedicine was critical to delivering care during the pandemic, and it will continue to be critical in rural areas and a convenience in urban areas.  Both state and Federal reimbursement policies need to be modified to encourage telemedicine.    

2.  Financial Report—Scott Edin.  (The financial data appearing in my packet has dramatically shrunk in recent months. The data provided focuses on Operations—the financial results from the provision of services—that have been showing significant losses during the pandemic.  What is not shown are the gains or losses from a large portfolio of investments held by NH&C. Operating losses are a concern, but they don’t immediately threaten the survival of the institution.)   NH&C has paid $14 million in construction costs without borrowing or significantly reducing its “Days of Cash On Hand.”  

3. Quality Dashboard Report—Sarah Carlsen.   A variety of quality measures are included in the Board packet.  Medicare and Medicaid use some of the measures to financially reward or punish providers, but the pandemic has significant distorted some of the measures.  It is not clear that the programs will actively function for at least part of 2021.    

4.  Community Relations Committee—CC Linstroth.  The committee has been working with hospital staff to develop instruments to measure community engagement and support.  


Healthfinders Collaborative was congratulated for its merger with the Steele County Clinic.    


The meeting was adjourned at 6:16 p.m. and the Board went into a closed session.  

Next meeting:  June 24, 2021

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