New look, equipment, and policies focus of hospital board meeting

By Jay Nolan

PublisherRandall Young checks carpet

After postponing, and then eventually canceling, their May meeting, the Knox Hospital Board went to work in a big way June 1. Board members inspected new carpeting and renovations that upgraded the appearance of the hospital entry and administration areas. The renovations were the reason the board did not meet in May.

“We have gotten a lot of positive comments on the new carpeting and renovations.” Hospital administrator Ray Canady stated. “I want to thank the county for all the help they gave with this project. It really was needed and looks nice.”

New equipment also appeared on the board’s agenda. Canady reported the hospital will be getting desperately needed new laboratory equipment, thanks to a generous $20,000 donation from the ladies auxiliary.

“Our current machine was transferred here from the old Knox hospital. It is obsolete,” Canady said.

He explained to the board the hospital was unable to get parts or repairs for the machine. The new Hemostasis laboratory will allow the hospital to complete some blood tests in as little as eight minutes, and has a 40-sample capacity. The ladies group also donated two brand new wheel chairs to the hospital in memory of Maud Mills, former president of the Auxiliary.

“We certainly appreciate all the ladies have done and continue to do,” Canady said.

Also, several state agencies conducted multiple detailed final inspections of the hospital’s new MRI unit Monday.

“We are now approved. We passed everything.”

Both Canady and chairman J.M. Hall recognized board member Mark Moran for his extensive efforts to help get the MRI unit up and running. The new unit completed 68 procedures in April alone. Officials expect the MRI department to be a positive for the hospital in terms of both patient service and helping the hospital generate more revenue

Speaking of revenue, board members also reviewed the financials for the first three quarters of the fiscal year. As of March 31, the hospital had stated revenues of $34,909,794. It generated a loss of $438,721. However, after subtracting depreciation of $789,581, the facility earned a year-to-date profit from operations of $350,860. While financial results for April and May were not presented, the board was told the trends look positive.

Also, the group got some good financial news. During an interim cost meeting the staff had with Medicare, Medicare officials raised their outpatient reimbursement fee to the hospital from 28 to 29% effective May 21. “This is huge for us,” Chief financial officer Amanda Ellis told board members. “Back in 2012 when the county first took over management, Ellis said the rate was only 23%.”

The board also voted to implement two new policies. First, board members voted to impose a strict new “conflict of interest” policy on its members. Each board member present signed a document agreeing to abide by the new policy after the meeting. Secondly, the board, upon recommendation from the medical staff, approved a very tough new sedation policy.

“This has a lot of teeth,” board member, Dr. Tom Ashburn, told the board, “but all the doctors have signed up for this.”

The board approved the policy, which should further improve patient care.

The group also continued their extensive review of the hospital’s ER. Earlier in the year, member Derrick Poff expressed concern about the ER department. In the June meeting, each patient survey was reviewed, and the status and progress of the ER department was discussed in detail.

After going into executive session to discuss some pending legal and personnel actions, the board returned to regular session. The board took no official action on items discussed in the executive session, set July 6 as the date of the next meeting, and adjourned.

By Jay Nolan

Publisher

After postponing, and then eventually canceling, their May meeting, the Knox Hospital Board went to work in a big way June 1. Board members inspected new carpeting and renovations that upgraded the appearance of the hospital entry and administration areas. The renovations were the reason the board did not meet in May.

“We have gotten a lot of positive comments on the new carpeting and renovations.” Hospital administrator Ray Canady stated. “I want to thank the county for all the help they gave with this project. It really was needed and looks nice.”

New equipment also appeared on the board’s agenda. Canady reported the hospital will be getting desperately needed new laboratory equipment, thanks to a generous $20,000 donation from the ladies auxiliary.

“Our current machine was transferred here from the old Knox hospital. It is obsolete,” Canady said.

He explained to the board the hospital was unable to get parts or repairs for the machine. The new Hemostasis laboratory will allow the hospital to complete some blood tests in as little as eight minutes, and has a 40-sample capacity. The ladies group also donated two brand new wheel chairs to the hospital in memory of Maud Mills, former president of the Auxiliary.

“We certainly appreciate all the ladies have done and continue to do,” Canady said.

Also, several state agencies conducted multiple detailed final inspections of the hospital’s new MRI unit Monday.

“We are now approved. We passed everything.”

Both Canady and chairman J.M. Hall recognized board member Mark Moran for his extensive efforts to help get the MRI unit up and running. The new unit completed 68 procedures in April alone. Officials expect the MRI department to be a positive for the hospital in terms of both patient service and helping the hospital generate more revenue

Speaking of revenue, board members also reviewed the financials for the first three quarters of the fiscal year. As of March 31, the hospital had stated revenues of $34,909,794. It generated a loss of $438,721. However, after subtracting depreciation of $789,581, the facility earned a year-to-date profit from operations of $350,860. While financial results for April and May were not presented, the board was told the trends look positive.

Also, the group got some good financial news. During an interim cost meeting the staff had with Medicare, Medicare officials raised their outpatient reimbursement fee to the hospital from 28 to 29% effective May 21. “This is huge for us,” Chief financial officer Amanda Ellis told board members. “Back in 2012 when the county first took over management, Ellis said the rate was only 23%.”

The board also voted to implement two new policies. First, board members voted to impose a strict new “conflict of interest” policy on its members. Each board member present signed a document agreeing to abide by the new policy after the meeting. Secondly, the board, upon recommendation from the medical staff, approved a very tough new sedation policy.

“This has a lot of teeth,” board member, Dr. Tom Ashburn, told the board, “but all the doctors have signed up for this.”

The board approved the policy, which should further improve patient care.

The group also continued their extensive review of the hospital’s ER. Earlier in the year, member Derrick Poff expressed concern about the ER department. In the June meeting, each patient survey was reviewed, and the status and progress of the ER department was discussed in detail.

After going into executive session to discuss some pending legal and personnel actions, the board returned to regular session. The board took no official action on items discussed in the executive session, set July 6 as the date of the next meeting, and adjourned.