North Valley Hospital starts making progress on warrants

TONASKET – Thanks in large part to a cost report settlement, North Valley Hospital’s warrant levels have begun to come down.

Acting Chief Financial Officer Helen Verhasselt reported at the Thursday, Sept. 13, NVH Board of Commissioners meeting that the hospital had received a $704,000 settlement the previous day and combined with normal cash receipts the warrant level had dropped to just over $2 million after nearly reaching the $3 million earlier in the month.

Verhasselt also reported that the number of swing beds in use had gone up from about 2.5 patients per day through July, to 4.0 in August and 5.75 in the first part of September.

“It shows that there is a big need,” Verhasselt said. “And with our increased reimbursement rate with our new cost report adjustment, could potentially bring in (a lot more revenue.)”

Business Development Director Terri Orford said that efforts to get Vet Pro Certified providers on hand to treat the number of veterans that are being seen in the Tonasket clinic had been frustrating.

“It has been a very discouraging process,” she said. “The VA needs to reevaluate their credentialing process. We have several providers who are ready and willing to come the following week. But even if they are in the state – say, in Puget Sound – they have to a recertification process, even if they are certified … they have to be recertified through the Spokane VA.”

That involves not only paperwork, but additional online training, federal background checks, and on-site checking of references by VA officials.

“They won’t give us emergency privileges,” Orford said. “So our hands are tied.”

Commissioner Lael Duncan said that she was meeting with Senators Murray and Cantwell next week.

“Please develop a timeline for me so that I can share this with them,” Duncan said.

“That’s our next step,” Orford said. “We need to talk to our senators and lobbyists to find a way to solve this problem.”

The NVH Board of Commissioners next meets on Thursday Sept. 27.

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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