Northfield Hospital report December 2022 from David emery

The December Board Meeting was a Webex Virtual meeting arranged by the hospitals IT staff.

Opening & Reports  

1. The Consent Agenda was approved.  It contained the Minutes for the November Board Meeting; Minutes for a Community Relations Committee Meeting; and a Job Description for the Community Relations Committee.

2. CC Linstroth and Charlie Mandile are retiring from the Board after serving 3-three year terms.  The Board thanked Charlie for his service.  CC was not on the ZOOM meeting and the hospital administration said they would arrange a “thank you” event.

3. The Board welcomed the two recently appointed members to the hospital Board, Crystal Mulvihill and Katie Johnson. The new members officially join the Board in Jan.

4. Dr. Seper, Hospital Chief of Staff, presented the applications for Medical Staff.  Approved by the Board.  

Presentations

1.  Steve Underdahl, CEO, asked the Board members to give the Vision/Mission Statement a fresh look, saying that such statements can become stale or forgotten.  The Statement reads that NH&C should a) care for the sick, b) nurture wellness, and c) improve health.  The values that accompany the statement are: independence; local control and influence; community service; and commitment to future generations.  

Executive and Committee Reports

1.  CEO Report—Steve Underdahl, CEO.  a) COVID:  the tripledemic is keeping the hospital full. It remains difficult to transfer patients to convalescent care or to higher level care, or to mental care facilities.  About half the patients in the hospital should be elsewhere. The staff is depleted and tired!  Keeping the facility operating, 24/7, is a challenge. Elective surgery is continuing. b) Strategic: The recently implemented Electronic Health Record System (EHR) is maturing but billing is still far behind and may remain so until mid January.  The October financials were not ready for the December Board Meeting. c) Operations: Service volume remains high, but expenses are higher.  COVID infections have hit the staff, especially coders and billers, and slowed progress on getting the EHR fully operational. d) Policy: CEO Underdahl met with state legislators to discuss the staffing and financial challenges facing health care facilities.  He warned that many long-term care facilities in the state may close due to financial pressures. e) Misc: The MHA Trustee meeting in January is being held in the Cities and is highly recommended to new Board members.

2. Financial Report—Scott Edin, CFO.  The good news is that most service areas came in above their forecast: inpatient days, outpatient days, clinic visits, etc. The investment portfolio gained about $1 million. Still the Operating Income is a negative $8.5 to 9.0 million dollars YTD for 2022.  More coders have been hired to help get the EHR up to speed, but that labor market is tight and COVID has cost the coder staff 144 hours thus far.  Volume at the Urgent Care Centers is above forecasts, but still limited by staffing shortages. 

3.  Nominations of Board Officers and Committee Assignments—Sarah Carlsen, Board Chair elect.  The Vice-Chair succeeds to Chair.  The Governance and Planning Committee will bring a slate of officer candidates to the January meeting.

 4. The administration has decided that given the staffing shortages, the traditional January Reviews and salary adjustments for all employees will be delayed for a month.  The managers are too busy dealing with other problems at the present time. This will not result in reduced pay for 2023.

Meeting adjourned at 6:25 p.m.           Next Meeting: Jan. 26, 2023.

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