Bishop reports on the state of the district

by Samantha White
Burns Times-Herald

Harney District Hospital (HDH) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jim Bishop began the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Health District Board of Directors (held June 24) with a presentation detailing the district’s history. The district is celebrating its 25-year anniversary July 1.

“Elected leaders and community volunteers looked to the future and did what’s right, instead of what’s easy,” Bishop said regarding the formation of the district. “Honestly, I think they were crazy or half crazy to think they could pull this off.”

He added that the district achieved all five of the top goals that were put forward when it was founded, and he encouraged the board to continue its efforts to ensure another 25 years of success.


Bishop, who is retiring after nearly 15 years of service, provided the board with his final State of the Harney County Health District report.

He reported that there are more than 180 full and part-time positions within the district, and employment will continue to rise. For example, two new family practice doctors and their support staff are being hired. Additionally, HDH Family Care clinic will add staff to increase outreach and expand hours of operation to six full days per week.  Behavioral health services will also be added to the clinic, and the district will add surgical staff as procedure numbers increase.

According to Bishop, employee surveys indicate that job satisfaction is above average. He added that employee wages and benefits exceed $1 million per month, adding significantly to the local economy.

Bishop observed slow declines in inpatient census, which he attributed to regulatory changes that promote shorter inpatient stays,  as well as efforts to promote population health and reduce readmissions. However, he stated that increases in outpatient procedures “more than offset” these small declines. He also noted that there’s been an increase in Medicaid-insured and Veterans Affairs patients.

Bishop also reported that the Paragon hospital information system was installed one year ago, and, although there have been some “bumps in the road,” overall performance has been good. In fact, HDH is one of less than 20 percent of hospitals in the United States that has achieved Meaningful Use II compliance. Meaningful use sets specific objectives for using certified electronic health record technology. Hospitals and eligible professionals must achieve these objectives to qualify for incentive programs. In addition to the expected reimbursement from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HDH is qualified for a significant bonus.

Bishop wrote that, “In the 25 years of the health district’s existence, its financial health has never been better.”

He explained that, several years ago, the board and administration agreed to hold a minimum level of cash and use any excess to pay extra on the district’s higher interest, long-term debt. At least $800,000 in additional debt reduction is planned for this coming year.

Regarding the district’s future, Bishop stated that providers have embraced health care reforms, which move away from the historic procedure-based healthcare model to focus on wellness, prevention, health outcomes, and cost moderation. The district is achieving leadership in a number of areas, including patient-centered medical home status, care management, close coordination of care and follow up between HDH and the clinic, and adding behavioral health to the clinic. Bishop stated his belief that these efforts will continue to help the district obtain grants, receive fair compensation for services, and recruit and maintain providers and staff.

“I think the health district is well-positioned to move forward into this exciting and challenging future,” he concluded.


The board agreed to approve the 2015-2016 Workplan Goals, which include attracting and retaining high-quality employees, expanding services to address community needs, continuously improving district operations, strengthening the financial base, and developing excellence in reputation and service to the community.


The budget hearing was opened at the beginning of the board meeting, and  budget committee chair Fred Flippence recommended approving the budget with a 4 percent price increase.

HDH Chief Financial Officer Catherine White explained that a 5 percent increase was originally proposed, but the budget committee elected to reduce the increase to 4 percent in order to keep rates as low as possible for the community. She added that each percentage point affects the budget’s bottom line by $150,000.

Board secretary Susan Doverspike noted that Rite Aid is in the process of coming on board with the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which will bring  “a significant chunk of change” to the district that it’s not accustom to receiving.

She added that, prior to committing funds to the proposed clinic remodel, she’d like to pay down debt.

White said she’s working with the Bank of Eastern Oregon on lowering a loan’s interest rate from 6.75 percent to 4.5 percent, which would save approximately $600,000 over the 15 years remaining on the loan. She added that she needs the board’s approval to “get the ball rolling.”

The board agreed to authorize White to move forward with investigation to lower the interest rate.

Upon recommendation from White, the board also agreed to switch the  credit card vendor from Umpqua Bank to Bank of Eastern Oregon.

After closing the hearing, the board agreed to approve the budget for fiscal year 2015-2016, as presented.

Board member Ann Vloedman abstained from  voting to avoid a potential conflict, as her husband is a hospital employee.

The board also passed Resolution 2016-01 adopting the annual budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 in the total amount of $30,955,328, making appropriations, and imposing and categorizing a tax rate of $1.9314 per $1,000 of assessed value.


Board members Tim Smith and Preston Jannsen were recognized and thanked for their service on the board, as both of their terms are ending.

Both Smith and Jannsen thanked the board for the opportunity to serve. Smith also expressed his appreciation for HDH staff, especially White and Bishop.

Vloedman moved to wait another month and continue advertising efforts before filling the board’s vacant positions.

Doverspike seconded the motion, and board chair Dan Brown voted in favor of it. Smith and Jannsen abstained from voting, so the motion passed with two abstentions.


In other business, the board:

• is waiting to hear back from its attorney regarding the Harney County Health District Bylaws;

• learned from HDH Development Coordinator Denise Rose that an architecture company will be on site July 7 to look at the clinic and learn more about team-based care. However, the actual construction phase is not planned in this year’s budget;

• upon recommendation from HDH Human Resources Manager Sammie Masterson, approved Policy 915.HR.309 “Employee Vaccinations and TB Testing” and Policy 915.HR.201 “Drug Free Workplace;”

• received a report from  Clinic Manager Stacie Rothwell, stating that the clinic hired Richard Friday, a behaviorist who will start July 13. She also reported that the clinic began the process of re-attesting to the Oregon Health Authority for Primary Care Medical Home designation;

• approved policies 100.115 “Special Committees,” 100.120 “Removing Board Members,” and 100.125 “Strategic Planning” without changes;

• granted medical staff privileges to Luther Hemphill, certified registered nurse anesthetist (anesthesiology); Nicholas CB Branting, MD (radiology); Henry Elder, MD (psychology); and Dr. Heidi Vanyo (family practice);

• re-appointed Laura Schaben, MD (neurology) to medical staff.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 in the hospital board conference room.

by Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

As of today, July 1, the Burns Times-Herald is under new ownership.

TGRF Media, owned by Randy Fulton and Terry Graham, has purchased the newspaper from Survival Media, LLC, who owned the paper since 2006.

Two of Graham’s sons, Jeff and Nolan, are moving to Harney County from the Portland area to assume duties at the paper. Jeff and his wife, Becky, have four sons, and Nolan and his wife, Brenda, have two sons and a daughter.

Ridin’ high

Posted on July 1st in News
Clint Johnson, a native of Harney County, was one of the competitors in the “Challenge of Champions” bull-riding competition on Saturday, June 27, at the Harney County Fairgrounds. For more photos, please see page 17. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

Clint Johnson, a native of Harney County, was one of the competitors in the “Challenge of Champions” bull-riding competition on Saturday, June 27, at the Harney County Fairgrounds. (Photo by RANDY PARKS)

A Celebration of Life for Joe Enneberg will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 4, at the Enneberg home at 505 N. Highway 20 in Hines.

There will be a short memorial service, a hamburger and hot dog barbecue, followed by an afternoon and evening of music and stories. Take along a lawn chair, stories and a dish to share.


WEB - OBIT FowlerJean Fowler, 89, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly June 16 at the Prineville Hospital in Prineville, in the presence of her closest and dearest friend, Jeanie Talbot.

Jean was born Feb. 17, 1926, in Winnemucca, Nev., the sixth child of Doss and Mable McNinch. She was raised in Winnemucca, and attended local schools. She made her home for many years at the CS Ranch where her husband, Jay, was superintendent of the Bullhead Cattle Company. She was active in the CowBelles and numerous other civic organizations.

Her family, many friends, horses, cooking, pottery and jewelry combined to make her a beautiful and happy life. She was well known for her cooking and her horsemanship, as well as her smile and outspokenness.

After semi-retirement, she moved to Hines, where she made many new friends and worked at Oard’s. She later purchased a home in Prineville, where she was living at the time of her death.

Jean is survived by her children, Dan Fowler of Burns and Wilma Norsby of Townsend, Mont.; sisters, Grace McErquiaga of Orovada, Nev., Doris Eyheralde of Reno, Nev., and Dorothy Hammond of Burns; brother, Henry (Hank) McNinch of Stockton, Calif.; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

As requested, her ashes will be scattered over Snowstorm Mountain, where she spent many a day buckarooing.

A service is planned for July 18 in the Memorial Building at the Harney County Fairgrounds.

Wednesday July 1

Posted on July 1st in Community Calendar

Youth Summer Reading Program at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, at the Harney County Library. Come see what the Museum of Natural and Cultural History for the University of Oregon has going on.

Come celebrate with Jim Bishop as he retires as CEO of Harney District Hospital. On Wednesday, July 1, at 6 p.m. enjoy a fun evening gambling with Team Casino providing blackjack and craps tables and a hamburger dinner prepared by, and at, the Burns Elks Lodge. Gambling is free, but a ticket is required for the free hamburger dinner. Get tickets and more information  from Kathy Huffman in HDH administration, 541-573-8312.

Harney County Court meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Harney County Courthouse, 450 North Buena Vista, at 10 a.m.

The Harney County Community Response Team (CRT) meets the first Wednesday of every month from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Community Center, 484 N. Broadway. The CRT consists of anyone interested in what is going on in the county as it relates to business and industry. County, city and tribal leaders provide general information to the public regarding xisting programs and recruitment efforts.

Burns Elks Lodge, 118 N. Broadway, meets the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

Storytime for preschoolers is scheduled at the Harney County Library, 80 W. D St., each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Contact the Harney County Library for more information, 541-573 6670.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

ALANON, a support group for friends and families of alcoholics, meets each Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns. Please use the back door on the south side of the building. All interested are welcome.

A Women’s AA meeting is held every Wednesday at noon at Foursquare Church, 74 S. Alvord, Burns.

Thursday July 2

Posted on July 1st in Community Calendar

Burns Butte Sportsmen’s Club meets the first Thursday of each month at the State Office Building, 809 W. Jackson, at 7 p.m.

A Walking Class is held each Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from  10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. indoors at the Harney County Senior and Community Services Center.

Kiwanis Club of Burns-Hines meets for a no-host luncheon at noon each Thursday at Bella Java, 314 N. Broadway in Burns.

Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets at noon each Thursday at Hines City Hall, 101 E. Barnes. Call 541-573-2896.

Tai Chi for Better Balance with Diane Rapaport is held each Tuesday and Thursday at Harney County Senior and Community Services Center from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — free.

Friday July 3

Posted on July 1st in Community Calendar

The Harney County Library will be closed July 3-4 for the Independence Day holiday.

Oregon Old Time Fiddlers, District 9, meets the first, third and fourth Friday of each month. Call Micky, 541-573-2515, for time and place.

A recovery group, “Celebrate Recovery,” meets each Friday at the Harney County Church of the Nazarene, 311 Roe Davis Ave. in Hines. Snacks served at 5:30 p.m. The main meeting is held at 6 p.m. and small group sessions are at 7 p.m. For more information, call 541-573-7100.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets each Friday at Symmetry Care at 5 p.m.

Saturday July 4

Posted on July 1st in Community Calendar

Independence Day!

Enjoy all the 4th of July festivities this year that include a patriotic parade at 10:30 down Broadway, community picnic from noon until 2 p.m. at the Hines Park, street dance at 4 p.m. at the Burns Elks Lodge, and fireworks at dark at the fairgrounds.

The High Desert Cutters will be having their fourth cutting on Saturday, July 4. It will start at 9 a.m. at the Roaring Springs Ranch, sign ups at 8 a.m. Please sign up with Sallianne Kelly by Wednesday, July 1. Call or text 541-413-0788 or email For any questions, call Corinne Elser at 541-589-1577. Everyone is welcome.

The Harney County Library will be closed July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.

A Veterans lunch will be served at the Hampton Station Cafe the first Saturday of each month beginning March 1. RSVP  by calling Shelley at 541-576-4951.

Diabetes Support Group meets at the Harney County Health Building, 420 N. Fairview, the first Saturday of each month at 2 p.m.

Sunday July 5

Posted on July 1st in Community Calendar

A free community dinner, eat in or take out (no strings attached),will be served the first Sunday of each month from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Pioneer Presbyterian Church, 417 W. Washington in Burns. The church is both wheelchair and walker accessible, and a limited number of deliveries are available. For more information, call 541-493-1987.

Overeaters Anonymous meets each Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Harney District Hospital Annex (downstairs in cafeteria area).Enter through the cafeteria door on North Grand. For more information, call Susie at 541-589-1522.

Alcoholics Anonymous meets every Sunday at 7 p.m. at Foursquare Church for 12×12 study.

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