Northfield Hospital Board Meeting, July 2021

The July Board Meeting was a Webex Virtual meeting arranged by the hospitals IT staff.  The Board Chair, Fred Rogers, called the meeting to order. (I joined the meeting late. Sorry.)   Board member Charlie Mandile was congratulated for the complementary article about him that appeared in the July 8 edition of the Mpls/St Paul Business Journal.   

Opening & Reports    

Items on the Consent Agenda included: a) Minutes for the June Board Meeting, Minutes for a Community Relations Committee Meeting, and Minutes for the Quality Board Committee Meeting, and b) Government Data Practices Act Policy.  

Chief of Staff Report:  Dr. Monty Seper.   

Presentation/Discussion/Action Items

1.  Annual Report MN Attorney General Agreement on Hospital’s Debt Collections—Scott Edin, CFO. 

2. Kenyon Clinic Lease—Steve Undedahl, CEO. The Board approved the terms of a lease for clinic space in Kenyon MN.   

Executive and Committee Reports

1. CEO Report—Steve Underdahl.  a) COVID: Another surge is starting with the Delta variant and it will likely peak in Oct.  The hospital is now seeing 1 or 2 patients a day, and the staff has the feeling of deja vu.  There has been a case of COVID in a long term care facility and restrictions have been re-imposed.  About 80% of NH&C staff have been vaccinated, but Underdahl asked the Board for suggestions on potential policy for the institution—require vaccination?  Vaccinate and test frequently?  Other?  (Board feedback appeared to favor a strong policy regarding staff vaccination citing the “do no harm” principle in health care.  Will patients feel safe if they know some staff members are not fully vaccinated?) An administrative decision will be forthcoming.  b) Strategic: the Administration is rethinking the employment experience at NH&C.  The reengineering projects are complete and the Board will receive a full report in Sept.  Likewise, the Board will receive a detailed report on the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) later. c) Operations: The Birth Center and the Wound Care Center are both doing better than forecast. Financing for the new Electronic Health Record system requires some accounting changes since the system is being rented on a monthly basis rather than purchased. d) Policy: there is discussion regarding legislation to limit vaccine misinformation on line.  

 2.  Financial Report—Scott Edin.  Patient service levels are still highly variable. Surgical and clinical services were above budget; Inpatient and outpatient visits were below budget. The facility recognized another $333,000 in revenue of the $2.5 million COVID set-aside in 2020. The Operating Income for June, including the $330,000 of COVID grant money, was $235,000.  Year to Date the Operating Income is -$915,000.   The Operating Income does not include gains or losses from non operating sources, such as investment income which totaled $387,000 in June.      

Other

Northfield Mayor, Rhonda Pownell joined the meeting to report on Hospital Board membership.  The Board terms of 3 current members expire this year.  The Mayor urged the members to complete an application for reappointment if the wish to continue serving.  Also there are 2 vacant seats on the Board that could be filled.  The new process is to appoint the members in Oct. even though they won’t formally take their seats until 2022.  The early appointment will allow the new members to become familiar with the Board issues and procedures.   

Announcements

The meeting stopped at 6:30 p.m. and the Board went into a closed session.  

Next meeting:  August 26, 2021  

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