Two board members indicate resignation
by Samantha White
A chief executive officer (CEO) offer letter and CEO employment agreement were approved for Daniel Grigg during the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harney County Health District Board of Directors on April 22.
Grigg is set to replace current Harney District Hospital (HDH) CEO Jim Bishop, who will retire in August.
Board member Preston Jannsen chose to abstain from voting, and board member Tim Smith explained that an abstention is neither an affirmative nor negative vote.
Smith, board chair Dan Brown, and board members Ann Vloedman and Shana Withee offered affirmative votes.
The motion included language that will allow the board to add key person disability insurance (which would protect the hospital financially in the event that the CEO can no longer work due to a disability) if it’s deemed necessary.
The board may also consider obtaining key person disability insurance for other key hospital employees.
Prior to approving the offer letter and employment agreement, the board agreed to move discussion concerning the CEO’s salary into public session.
Smith explained that discussion of salary must be part of public session, but other negotiated items, which are not subject to public meeting law, could remain in executive session.
HDH Chief Financial Officer Catherine White presented the salary negotiations to the board, explaining how the proposed salary compares to what CEOs in similar hospitals receive.
Brown said the proposed salary is slightly under the 50th percentile for hospitals of a similar size, budget, etc.
Bishop said the starting rate should be somewhere between the 25th and 50th percentile, adding that more experienced employees will be paid “more or less” at the 50th percentile.
“That’s kind of where I am,” he said.
The board agreed to approve the salary of $165,000 per year.
Brown stated that two board members indicated their intent to resign, and he asked the board for direction regarding accepting their resignations.
Smith suggested that the board wait until letters of resignation are received.
The board received a report from Clinic Manager Stacie Rothwell regarding HDH Family Care.
Rothwell reported that 1,716 patients were served in March, which was a new high for the clinic. She said the increase can be attributed in part to an influx of acute patients (patients with colds, flu, etc) and roughly 50-75 wild land firefighters who needed physicals by the end of May.
Rothwell also reported that Dr. Heidi Vanyo received her Oregon license, and the credentialing process has begun. Vanyo is expected to start July 1.
An additional physician will be coming to visit at the end of April. She will finish her residency training this summer and would be available to begin in early fall, should she decide to accept a position.
Dr. Henry Elder, a Canby-based psychiatrist, began seeing patients at the clinic via telemedicine April 13. Rothwell reported that the clinic hopes to add a behaviorist who would work directly with clinic providers and Dr. Elder to provide patient care. She added that there’s a list of patients who are waiting to see Dr. Elder, and the clinic anticipates that this will be a successful expansion of its services.
Rothwell also reported that, year-to-date, 557 patients have been served locally by specialists who traveled from Bend.
“It’s an amazing number of patients being seen,” Bishop said. “It’s saving people a trip across the desert.”
Vloedman said the community has responded well to the traveling providers, and Brown said he’s very impressed with the level of service.
The board continued its conversation concerning space planning at the clinic.
The lack of available space was a topic of discussion during the Feb. 25 board meeting, and a clinic space planning proposal was approved during the March 25 meeting.
Efforts are underway to form a subcommittee to oversee the project as it moves forward.
In other business, the board:
• learned from HDH Human Resources Manager Sammie Masterson that HDH Chief Operating Officer/ Chief Nursing Officer Barb Chambers will retire at the end of the month.
The board thanked Chambers for her service;
• received an update from Bishop concerning meaningful use.
At 98 percent compliance, Bishop said HDH is “doing extremely well” at meeting the requirements.
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.
White said meaningful use dollars will be received and used to pay down some of the hospital’s debt;
• learned from HDH Health Information Services Coordinator Toni Siegner that between 50 and 60 children attended the Reach Out and Read® Read and Romp, which was held April 18 at HDH to promote childhood literacy;
• reviewed policies 100.085 “Conflicts of Interest” and 100.090 “Board Retreats” and approved them without changes;
• reviewed policy 100.095 “Reimbursements of Board Member Expenses.”
Vloedman recommended that the sentence, “Board members shall also be reimbursed for their actual and reasonable travel and other expenses incurred in the performance of official district duties,” be amended to read, “Board members shall also be reimbursed for their actual and reasonable travel and other expenses incurred in the performance of official district duties and education and training.”
The board agreed to approve the policy as amended;
• received a report from Kelly Singhose, care manager.
Singhose reported that she works with patients’ primary care providers to develop a plan of care, which involves mental health and home health. She explained that, in order to do this, she spends a lot of time visiting with patients, researching options, and reviewing patients’ medical histories.
“Most of my patients have several chronic diseases and multiple barriers to care including mental health, physical limitations, economic or social needs,” Singhose explained. “They likely need to see a specialist out of our community and support in our community.”
Singhose said she’s managed more than 200 patients in the last three months alone.
In her aforementioned report, Rothwell stated that the clinic would like to shift the number of staff Singhose supervises so she has more time to provide direct patient care.
The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 27 in the hospital board conference room.