Northfield Hospital BoardMeeting: June 2021

The June Board Meeting was a Webex Virtual meeting arranged by the hospitals IT staff.  The Board Chair, Fred Rogers, called the meeting to order shortly after 5:00 p.m.  Rogers thanked Bobbi Jenkins for 32 years of service to NH&C, and welcomed Rick Estenson to the Board.     

Opening & Reports    

The Consent Agenda was approved.  Items on the Consent Agenda included: a) Minutes for the May Board Meeting, and Minutes for a Community Relations Committee Meeting. and b) Revision of several Clinical Privilege forms.   

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

Presentation/Discussion/Action Items

1. Diversity, Equity and Inclusions & Succession Planning—Jeff Mutz (HR Director).  Mutz described efforts to “build diversity into the fabric of the organization,” that included drafting a Charter and creating a Council to implement the program.  Mutz cited the consistency of the new program with the health care mission of NH&C due to the importance of social determinants of health.  

One of the goals of the succession planning was to “grow our own leaders.”  Board comments included a suggestion to “build on attributes not skill sets.” as future leaders may not have had the time or experience to acquire impressive skill sets.  Another comment suggested relabeling the program to focus on “leadership” rather than “succession.”  The term, “Succession” carries several implications that may not be possible or desirable to achieve, while “leadership” can be applied to many different programs and positions within an organization.       

2.  Patient Care Update: Workplace Violence—Tammy Hayes. Workplace violence is growing nationwide, and in healthcare settings.  An incident occurs when a staff person is hit, spit on, bit, etc. and most incidents do not involve an injury to staff.  The Administration is working on a revised reporting process and assessment tools, and has implemented a call-code for violent incidents.  Hayes suggested some causes for the rise in workplace violence—better reporting, more behavioral health patients being held for longer periods before transfer, and COVID 19 has some people angry and upset.  

Executive and Committee Reports

1. CEO Report—Steve Underdahl.  a) COVID:  The large scale vaccination clinic at NH&C has closed, but vaccines are available in the clinics. The online stream of misinformation regarding vaccines continues. The Delta variant of COVID is a major concern.  b) Strategic:  NH&C is in talks with Avera; an online, 24/7, eCare hospitalist services that would provide backup to local hospitalists and allow an expansion of acute care services.  Allina offers a similar service, but only to its affiliates.  The facility’s IT and IS staffs are meeting with Avera.  Work on the new EHR system continues.  c) Operations:  Patient volumes and revenue are improving but the payer mix is unfavorable, i.e., high-discount payers.  The rollout of the hyperbaric oxygen chamber is going well.  The Express Care Clinic in downtown Northfield will reopen on July 5.  d) Policy: The proposal by United Health to retrospectively audit ER admissions and adjust payments downward is “scary” since many conditions present with the same symptoms and practice is to start treatment for the condition with the worse outcome.   The Affordable Care Act is still viable, following a decision by the US Supreme Court. 

2.  Financial Report—Scott Edin.  Surgical and emergency services were above budget; Clinical visits were up, but less than expected.  In May, the facility recognized $333,000 of the $2.5 million COVID set-aside in 2020. The Operating Income for May, including the $330,000,  was $115,000.  The Operating Income for 2021, YTD is negative $1.1 million.   

3. Quality Dashboard Report—Sarah Carlsen.  The Quality Dashboard will come to the Board at the July meeting.  A “Fresh Up” service has been added to patient rooms in the evenings.  


The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m. and the Board went into a closed session.  

Next meeting:  July 29, 2021  

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