Sprinkler systems approved for NVH

Work on new boiler proceeds

TONASKET – The North Valley Hospital Board of Commissioners approved a pair of expenditures to proceed with the installation of new emergency sprinkler systems in both the Extended Care facility and the Verbeck Building.

The system in the Extended Care needed to be replaced before winter due to the threat of pipes bursting once the weather gets cold. The Verbeck Building needs to have much of its system retrofitted to meet Department of Health requirements as the building is converted from its days as North Valley Assisted Living.

“The sprinklers in the extended care soffit urgently need to get taken care of,” said Facilities Director Kelly Cariker. “I tried to get it where we could coordinate it with getting the sprinklers done in the Verbeck Building.

Business Development Director Terri Orford, who is coordinating the conversion of the Verbeck Building, said that having the projects done concurrently would likely save several thousand dollars.

“We absolutely have retrofit for the fire sprinklers (to move forward),” Orford said. “We do have a bid from Patriot, who is doing the Extended Care project. I was wanted to see if the board would approve us to move forward with doing it at the same time in the Verbeck Building as in the Extended Care as it will likely save us several thousand dollars. Every time they come it costs us a lot of money for travel.”

The commissioners also discussed whether it or not it would be appropriate to dissolve the space allocation committee the major decisions about what to do with the Assisted Living had been made. But at the behest of commissioner Lael Duncan, the committee will be kept intact until the project is completed.

Duncan and Clarice Nelson are the commissioners that make up part of that committee, along with Orford and several others.

“It gives us the ability to speak to the public with some degree of knowledge,” Duncan said. “It hasn’t met for at least a month now and it puts Clarice and I in an awkward position. The decisions made have been good decisions but I have some concerns about how that has transpired.”

The committee will meet every two weeks to keep all parties abreast of the project.

The commissioners approved the two sprinkler expenses: $11,876 for the Verbeck Building, and $12,534 in the Extended Care.

Money talk

The hospital’s warrants stood at $943,000 as of Thursday afternoon. Chief Financial Officer Helen Verhasselt reported that she expected those to decline a bit over the final days of th e month. But she added that another big chunk should be coming off that amount if NVH receives a promised reimbursement of $448,000 in “meaningful use” money for completing electronic health records requirements.

“I contacted Medicare this morning and what they are telling me is that (quoting from an email), ‘I can’t tell you exactly when your payment will be received. According to my supervisor the expectation is that you should receive it by Friday at the latest, based on the Electronic Health Records deadline. Obviously Monday is the last day of the month so if you still haven’t received it by then there is obviously a problem somewhere.’

“This gal she said it was strange, that they hadn’t run into this with any facility they’ve been working with. I’m just going to be persistent and keep following up.”

The board of commissioners next meets on Thursday, Oct. 31; it’s Oct. 10 meeting has been cancelled.

Work on new boiler proceedsWork on new boiler proceeds

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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