NVH contract with HCGR Healthcare voided

TONASKET – HCGR Healthcare has voided their contract with North Valley Hospital District, NVH Board Chair Helen Casey said during the board’s meeting on Thursday, Aug. 12.

“HCGR could not comply with the terms and conditions of our contract with them, so they withdrew the contract,” Casey said. “They couldn’t provide the services they had promised, such as the ability to staff the hospital and to take care of billing and cost reports to the extent they had thought. No money changed hands and we’re going to save management contract fees.”

Casey added that even though HCGR Healthcare placed Linda Michel in the administrator’s position, she has agreed to stay on with the hospital district in that capacity, despite the voiding of the contract.

During this meeting, the board heard from Dr. Mark Bolton from Coast-to-Coast who functions as Chief Executive Officer of the organization, regarding a deal which will save the district over $500,000 in four years. The original contract the district signed with Coast-to-Coast stated the staffing rate would be $149 per hour with the doctors getting $100 and there would also be a $25 per hour management fee with $5 going back to the home office and $5 going back to the margin.

“We’re willing to drop to $15 per hour for the management fee and $144 per hour for the staffing rate, a saving of $15,” Bolton said. “This will save you $130,000 a year and over four years that will come to $520,000. We’re doing this because this was our first good, stable contract and it was gratifying to be asked back. We love the community, we love being here and it’s fun to be here. There are a lot of companies who can do this cheaper, but we can do it better. If you always get the cheapest thing you can find, you’re going to get what you pay for.”

The Coast-to-Coast doctors will be working in the hospital district for 96-hour shifts, which Bolton said the doctors are trained for and very used to. He said many of the doctors are military trained, so this schedule is not as straining as many people believe it is when they first hear of it. Also, the doctors who will be coming to Tonasket will be on a rotating schedule and if any of them decide they would like to stay in Tonasket as a permanent employee of the district and the district agrees, the doctor will be allowed to stay after a 180-day notice period. In order to get the deal from Coast-to-Coast they asked for two things: for the hospital district board to extend the contract from 36 months to 48 months and for the district to use Coast-to-Coast exclusively as their staffing company along with the local doctors here who will remain employed by the district.

“Should you get enough of our doctors to staff your hospital full-time, we can end the contract with a 180-day notice period and convert our contract to an as needed contract,” Bolton said.

The hospital board did not take action on the offer from Coast-to-Coast, but they did decide to consider it.

Also during the meeting, the board heard from Support Services Director John Boyd regarding the construction project.

“Everything’s going on schedule right now,” Boyd said. “They have no problems with the things I find that need fixing every day. We are cleaning and going through right behind them. The wiring’s done and they’re almost ready to paint. Everything’s coming together really well.”

Finally, it was announced that the billing department met a goal they set last fall. At the time, the department was bringing in $29,000 to $30,000 a day in receipts and the goal was set to bring in $66,000 in one day. For three days in a row last week, the department successfully brought in $66,000 each day.

The next hospital board meeting will be on Thursday, 26 at 7 p.m. in the boardroom.