VA clinic continues growth

Response to court decision criticized

TONASKET – The North Valley Hospital District’s VA clinic continues to grow, reported NVH Director of Ancillary Services Noreen Olma at the Thursday, March 28, Board of Commissioners meeting.

Olma said that as of the end of February, there were 569 veterans enrolled in the program.

“Our goal is to add 10 new physicals per provider each month,” she said. “Also, starting this month, we’ll be reporting monthly to the county commissioners monthly about the the VA clinic.”

Business Development Coordinator Terri Orford added that credentialing is proceeding smoothly thus far with the new VA provider, Dr. Cynthia Durante.

“She’s pretty vested in completing her paperwork and getting it turned in,” Orford said. “We’re keeping close tabs on that.”

She added that the district also finalized a contract with TriCare insurance, which covers retired veterans.

“It’s a pretty big deal.”

Water leaks

Water system upgrades by the City of Tonasket have increased the water pressure going into the hospital buildings, which in turn has created issues with the sprinklers outside of the Extended Care building.

“They’re developing pinhole leaks,” said Kelly Cariker, support services director. “It could be very bad in the winter when the water freezes, so it needs to be addressed. I’m obtaining competitive quotes and will bring the bids to discus, but it could run in the $20-30,000 range.”

Reaction to reaction

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Kathy Rawley criticized the board and administrators for their reaction following court rulings that favored the Board of Commissioners the previous week, and called for their resignations.

“I witnessed jubilation by the senior management team, board of commissioners and CEO,” Rawley said. “Some hugging and handshaking went on, as happens with most celebrations. You were also proud and happy that you had won this decision over the very citizens of Public Hospital Distroct No. 4 that had elected this board of commissioners.

“Linda Michel, I believe that you should resign. You have led this board own the road path. Commissioners, you should resign because you allowed yourselves to be led down the path that violates the public trust. And senior managers, you should either resign or take a cut in pay to help pay down the hospital warrants. 28 seniors citizens made a huge sacrifice. You should do the same.”

Lisa Andrews asked that in the future, the board rely less on written reports submitted at its meetings and more on verbal presentations.

“As a result of that change there are very few discussions or deliberations before there are any actions taken in the public forum,” Andrews said, suggesting the written reports should also be posted on the hospital’s website. “Then actions will be taken and deliberations openly,” she said.

“One of the reasons we changed to a written report is for the opportunity to sit and read and review it,” said board chairwoman Helen Casey. “But we’ll be asking our senior leaders as they present those reports, to ask them to go through perhaps one item they’d like to go through. It is filed here so that if people want to read these … it gives us the opportunity to really review what’s going on.”

Casey added that the warrant level would be reported at each Board of Commissioners meeting from here on, and that the warrants currently stood at $1.372 million, down from a high of $2,955 last August 29.

The NVH Board of Commissioners next meets on Thursday, April 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the hospital board room.

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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