Northfield Hospital Board Meeting: April 2022

he April 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. 

Opening & Reports    

The Consent Agenda was approved.  The Agenda included: Minutes from the March Board meeting: Minutes from a Budget and Finance Committee meeting: Minutes from a Quality Board Committee meeting: and CEO Evaluation Summary from the February  Board Meeting, Closed Session.  The Board received a copy of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) Policy Change form.

2. Hospital Chief of Staff Report—Dr. Monty Seper.  The medical staff requests for privileges were approved.

3.  Nursing/Patient Care Update—Tammy Hayes, CNE.  Hayes reported on activities to improve patient care/experience.  a) The first was the reactivation of the Patient and Family Advisory Committee.  The Committee consists of 6 patients and 3 staff members who advise the facility on ways to improve patient care/experience such as installing a Waiting Room Tracker for the ER and improving menus for the hospital.  b) a live video/chat presentation is being made available for the Birthing Center which will allow people to receive a hosted, virtual tour of the Center.  c) The Cancer Care Accreditation process is underway.  This is a lengthy, multistep process required every 3 years.  d) A question was raised about efforts to market the Birthing program to the South Metro area.      

Executive and Committee Reports

1. CEO Report—Steve Underdahl.  a) COVID:  A COVID patient was admitted to the hospital this week; the first in a while.  COVID is increasing in the region.  b) Strategic: The Urgent Care Center is about ready to open.  Social Determinants of Health: NH&C is working on a comprehensive plan to address the needs of the community, especially the needs of older adults as Northfield attracts senior citizens.  Concerns, about the future health care work force, have prompted attention to the topic by NH&C.  Mental health needs and priorities are being assessed. The Foundation website is up and the donation software is active.  The scope-of-practice for the hospital is being studied, again.  c) Operations: Patient visits are still soft which presents financial challenges.  A spine care program is being studied.  Staffing is still a challenge, as is inflation.  The property in New Market has been sold.  d) Policy: Underdahl spent time at the state capitol with the Minnesota Hospital Association.  Much of their time was spent alerting lawmakers to the challenges facing health care in MN.  Underdahl reported that the problems of the health care sector are not on the front burner in St. Paul.   

2. Financial Report—Scott Edin. Utilization is picking up relative to 2021,but March volumes were below forecasts. Operating Income for March was a deficit of $322,000, and a deficit for YTD of $1,316,000 even when the COVID grants to NH&C are included.  (Comment: The financial information included in my packet is limited, so I don’t get a complete picture of the financial situation, e.g. no info is provided on non-operating income. The non-operating income for April is likely to be negative due to declines in the stock market.)     

3. Quality Committee Dashboard Report—Sarah Carlsen.  The Dashboard data was distributed with the Board packet last month. 

4.  Budget and Finance Committee Report-Fred Rogers.  The monthly statistic of Days Cash On Hand (DCOH) is determined by two factors—the cash on hand and the average daily expenditures by the hospital.  As the expenditures/day increase due to inflation, the DCOH would decrease even if the $ of cash remained constant.  Several building projects are being completed at the hospital.  If the projects were paid for out of cash, DCOH would decline. The facility passed borrowing authority for the projects last year but has not used it.  Interest rates are rising.  If NH&C plans to borrow, it should do so soon.  The administration was urged to assess its cash needs for the next 1, 3, and 5 years .    

The meeting was paused while the non Board members left the room, and then the Board went into a closed session. 


Next meeting:  May 26, 2022  

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