NV Hospital has $1 million in the bank

Hospital Administrator Linda Michel placed on paid leave

TONASKET – North Valley Hospital Administrator Linda Michel has been put on paid administrative leave through April 3, 2015. Her last day with the hospital was Thursday, Feb. 26.

Linda Michel
Linda Michel

Michel, whose salary is $176,966 per year, planned to retire in October 2015, before moving that date up to April 3, 2015. Neither Helen Casey, chairwoman of the board of commissioners nor Chief Financial Officer Helen Verhasselt had any comment as to why Michel was placed on administrative leave.

Jim O’Halloran, retired CEO of Ferry County Hospital, will serve as the interim Administrator starting April 1 and lasting until the position is filled. O’Halloran will receive a monthly fixed salary of $10,250, working on a month by month contract.

“Having someone come in to lead us through the way will be the best thing for the district,” said Casey. “He is highly qualified, and has great experience in leadership and healthcare. The Board felt that to continue forward progress, considering that the Senior Leaders have a lot of responsibilities, it was important to bring in an outside resource as interim until a permanent administrator has been selected.”

Meanwhile, Verhasselt will be the acting administrator. The search for a new administrator is being carried out by a Long Range Focus Committee made up of board members Clarice Nelson and Teresa Hughes; Human Resources Director Jan Gonzales; Verhasselt; Director of Business Development Terri Orford; Long Term Care Director Linda Holden; and community members Don Atchison, Steve Quick, Montie Smith and Karen Schimpf. Twenty-nine applications have been received so far.

The committee will meet March 26 to discuss the applications, with Skype interviews set for March 30 and 31. Three to five applicants will be selected and brought to the hospital campus the week of April 20th for a “meet and greet” and interviews with the Board of Commissioners, followed by final interviews with the Long Range Focus Committee. The advertised position calls for five to ten years of experience in healthcare administration. The new administrator’s salary is to be determined based on experience.

“With naming Jim O’Halloran as our Interim, we will be able to take our time finding a versatile candidate that meets all the qualifications that the community, Medical Staff and Board have established,” said Casey.

Director Nelson reported at the Feb. 26 board meeting an interview matrix was complete and available for committee members to review.

Finances Looking Up

Cash on hand for the hospital was $807,067 as of Feb. 26. On March 2, Orford reported the hospital having $1 million in the bank.

“We have paid off our warrants, and now have $1 million in cash reserves,” Orford stated. “We will be handing out root beer floats tomorrow to our staff and community thanking them for being a part of our success.”

Jana Symonds, Director of Patient Financial Services, reported reaching an average daily revenue of $90,165 in the most recent 90-day period.

“This is a happy day for me,” said Symonds. “Our departments are doing a good job.”

Holden presented survey results from Medicare.gov comparing nursing homes within a 200 mile radius of Tonasket. Of the six nursing homes compared, NVH was the only facility to rate with five of five stars under headings of: Overall, Health Inspections, and Quality Measures. NVH received four of five stars under staffing.

“Compared to other facilities in the area, we are doing very well and I am very proud of my staff,” said Holden.

Purchase of an air conditioning unit for the south side of the clinic to replace one installed in 1979 was approved at a cost of $8,286.11.

A monitor for the Endoscopy Suite costing $9,987.08 was approved. NVH performs 230-250 endoscopy procedures per year.

The next NVH Board of Commissioners meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m.