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HAMC improving financial situation

By Staff | Oct 31, 2014

At its annual Good Samaritan Hospital Association meeting on Monday evening, the Heart of America Medical Center announced it is improving its financial situation from the previous fiscal year.

For FY2014, HAMC incurred a $1.036 million deficit in operating income, an improvement over FY2013’s operating deficit of more than $1.7 million. Most of last year’s losses were incurred due to bad debt and untimely filing write-offs, which in FY2013 were just over $1.3 million. In FY2014, bad debts were reduced to $806,000.

Hospital revenues increased this year with the addition of an MRI machine and other services. In addition to its $700,000 improvement in net income, the hospital also incurred $800,000 in grants and investment revenue.

Jon Nelson, board chairman, presided over the meeting.

Presentations

Several members of various departments gave presentations during the meeting.

CEO Jeff Lingerfelt discussed changes that have occurred since the previous fiscal year, including the addition of a daycare center and new staffing.

Lingerfelt mentioned the addition of Dr. Ashley Kremer, nurse practitioner Andi Stahl, social services director Shannon Amyotte, clinic administrator Jeremiah Lindgren and chaplain Don Barsness. The hospital is currently recruiting candidates for internal medicine. Dr. Bill Gunderson, who joined the hospital staff earlier this year, held the position for three months on a locum tenens basis.

Rugby EMS Director Ken Reed discussed the Frontier Community Health Integration Project grant, and what the hospital is doing to achieve it. The hospital submitted a program to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid detailing how paramedics are treating high-risk patients before going to the hospital. HAMC will find out this month whether it receives the FCHIP grant.

Sharon Houim, of Admissions, presented the MyHealth portal – a new feature on the HAMC website done in cooperation with Altru. The feature allows patients to see and download their medical records and billing, lists of medications, lab reports and records of their children or patients for whom they are proxies. The portal can also be used to talk with doctors or to schedule appointments.

Diabetes Educator Lisa Thorp talked about telemedicine. With a $15,000 grant, the hospital put in place a program where a patient can see a doctor via a special camera. While it has been used for diabetes education, Thorp discussed other possible applications for telemedicine, including dermatology, psychiatry and care for the elderly.

Thorp also mentioned the possibility of electronic stethoscopes to be used in tandem with telemedicine technology.

Pharmacist Erik Christenson, along with pharmacists Tallie Schneider and Jen Melgaard, discussed changes taking place in the HAMC pharmacy, including adding more staff; a medication reconciliation program in the emergency room; sales of diabetic shoes and custom foot inserts and a Pyxis medication delivery system.

Articles of incorporation changed

Changes in the GSHA Articles of Incorporation were discussed, particularly a proposed change in Article VIII. Additional language requires the physician representative and member-at-large positions be appointed by the board of trustees at the annual meeting. Both will serve three-year terms or until successors are elected or appointed.

The amendment to Article VIII removed language stating that trustees representing congregational members serve for three years. These board members will be voted on at each annual meeting.

One person in attendance questioned the need for a member-at-large, to which Nelson responded the need was based on those with more information and expertise, who desired to serve on the board.

In Article V, in the sentence “Membership in this corporation shall consist of such Lutheran congregations…” the word Lutheran was taken out, and ecumenical was substituted in its place.

In Article III address of the hospital was changed from “P.O. Box 197, 802 S. Main St” to “800 South Main Ave.”

Other news

Two new trustees and one current trustee were elected to serve on the board.

John McClintock, who represented the Rugby area from 2011 to 2014, was reelected.

Patricia Heggen was elected to represent Dunseith, and Christine Bubach was elected to represent Leeds.

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