Hospital warrants down to $175,000

TONASKET – With the North Valley Hospital District Board of Commissioners moved from its normal Thursday date to Monday, June 9, the agenda was a bit shorter than usual.

However, of particular note was the fact that the hospital’s debt to Okanogan County has been reduced to $141,677 (as of Monday afternoon), down about $200,000 from the previous board meeting 10 days earlier.

Administrator Linda Michel said that union negotiations had concluded, though the new contract had yet to be voted on.

“We’re glad we’re done,” Michel said. “They went well. They were tiring days and tense at time, but we got through it. As soon as they vote on it, June 17-18, we’ll bring the details back here (to report).”

The commissioners also heard reports from Human Resources director Jan Gonzale, who discussed the costs of a high turnover rate and said that North Valley Hospital’s turnover rates have reduced significantly in the past five years and in most areas are below (better than) the national average.

The board also heard a pharmacy quality report from NVH pharmacist Mike Harshberger, who discussed medication safety and procedures for monitoring, tracking and disposing of expired medications.

Previous Meeting

Prior to the May 29 meeting, the board had to approve the emergency repair of the corrosion protection system in one of the fuel tanks.

Chief Information Officer Kelly Cariker said that the Department of Ecology, while on site for a routine inspection, determined that the corrosion protection system on one of the tanks no longer passed tests and required repair.

Because an emergency repair was required, Cariker said, the commissioners were polled by phone for approval of the project.

Cariker said that there had not been any fuel leaks.

Also the backup generator that had been shipped to Spokane for repair has been reinstalled and tested, he said.

VA Clinic

Director of Ancillary Services Noreen Olma reported that the Veterans Administration clinic currently had 710 patients in its system.

“We continue to bring in new patients monthly,” Olma said in her written report. “But (we) also continue to lose patients due to circumstances we cannot control, (such as) death, relocation, and means tests.”

Business Development Coordinator Terri Orford reported that she and VSO Shane Barton were working together to reach out to area veterans to ensure they were informed of the clinics services.

“We created a short survey asking our VA Clinic Vets how they heard about our services (i.e. radio, newspaper, etc), whether they had suggestions on how to reach out to Veterans, what we do well and what we can improve on in our clinic,” Orford said in her written report. “We will be handing these surveys out to every patient in the VA Clinic for the next three months, collect the data, and determine how to proceed.”

Director of Ancillary Services Noreen Olma reported that first quarter customer surveys indicated 100 percent of time patients surveyd their rooms as clean.

Also, she noted that NVH’s maging Center has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in mammography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety.

Long Term Care

Long Term Care director Linda Holden said that a DSHS complaint investigator visited the facility in April in regards to the call light system. The system in the west wing was recently installed after several months of using temporary measures.

“We are never informed what prompts the visit,” she wrote. “The investigator reviewed our documentation related to residents’ falls before the system was complete and reviewed the various safety plans we had in place when the system was out.

“The paper documentation related to our safety rounds and plans amounted to eight inches of paper in 3, 3 ring binders. The surveyor left satisfied that we were on track with the call light safety plan as well as the individualized care plan for residents.”

The Board of Commissioners next meet on Thursday, June 26.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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