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HAMC holds town hall meeting

By Staff | Sep 30, 2016

Heart of America Medical Center held “An Update on Your Hospital” Town Hall Meeting last Thursday, September 22nd.

CEO Patrick Branco hosted the meeting, with guest speakers including Chief Nursing Officer, Julie Baustad; Chief Financial Officer, Amanda Loughman; and Clinic Admin, Jeremiah Lindgren.

The meeting began with Branco offering an Autumn-themed prayer. Afterwards, he introduced new team members including, Stephanie Buckmier, NP; Pastor Gary Dorn, Chaplain; Connie Eklund, NP; and Jana Knutsen, NP.

Branco then congratulated Physician’s Assistant, Dustin Hager, on being named the 2016 Provider of the Year by the NRHA. He is the first ever P.A. to be given this award. “This is a remarkable honor,” Branco said.

Branco and Baustad then addressed some rumors that had been circulating concerning the hospital, such employee lay-offs and care-center closings.

In regards to the rumor that over 100 employees had recently been laid off, Branco said it was completely false. “I don’t believe in short-term gains,” he said. “[Laying employees off] is not a sound philosophy. They are the bread and butter of our community.”

As far as the rumor that the care center is closed, Branco said that, too, is false. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “We are short-staffed, and we do have a waiting list. We are watching to see who we can let in for care. Some people with greater health issues than we can handle are being transferred elsewhere.”

Lindgren then stepped in to give an update on the clinics and recruitment efforts of the hospital.

Dr. Seiler will be retiring at the end of October and Dr. Kremer will be on maternity leave for three months after December 1st, so the hospital is currently looking for providers.

Lindgren also talked about the possibility of an EMS community paramedic program being started, which would allow trained community members to help in emergency situations after hours.

Baustad then gave an update on the Care Center. She is now CNO of both long term and acute care, providing a more unified patient/resident experience with the new organizational chart.

Remodeling is happening in the Care Center. New flooring, paint, furniture and baths have been installed. Residents now look forward to bath time in a Whirlpool tub with side entrance.

In addition to surface remodeling, activities are also being changed in positive ways. The Care Center is looking to get a large projection screen, in which residents can use to have movie nights and play the Wii on.

One new program the Care Center hopes to develop is a restorative aid course.

In regards to the Care Center, Baustad said, “It’s been a very good experience. The staff isvery much in love with the residents. It’s touching to be up there.”

As far as budget cuts, come January 1st, 2017, the hospital will see a 10% reduction. Branco said that reduction will not result in staff cuts; rather, HAMC will eliminate waste and improve revenue. “With a little help and divine intervention, we’re going to be able to manage just fine,” he said.

In the meantime, HAMC is petitioning the governor and legislature to change their minds concerning the cuts.

Loughman then presented a brief overview of the current financial status of HAMC, stating, “We are doing better than last year.”

She explained where the hospital’s sources of revenue come from, as well as stated the numbers from the past three years.

“We are doing approximately $300,000 better than last year, although I am expecting about $800,000 or $900,000 in losses this year,” Loughman said.

Loughman was recently named one of Becker’s Hospital Review’s Rising Stars Leaders Under 40.

Baustad gave updates on the upcoming Cancer Care Suite, in light of Pharmacist, Erik Christenson’s absence due to the harvest and forecast of rain.

HAMC now has a floor plan ready for the Chemo Suite, which is in the process of being approved by the State Department of Health.

The hospital did receive a $112,000 grant to help funding for the suite, a project estimated to have a total cost of $320,000.

Building is scheduled to start in December, granted that the floor plan gets approved in time.

HAMC hopes to have the suite operating by mid-2017.

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