NVH sums up medical services provided in 2015

TONASKET – North Valley Hospital staff presented year-end reports at their board meeting Jan. 28.

Patient Financial Services Director Jana Symonds reported the hospital’s gross revenue at over 33 million dollars, with the Emergency Room being the biggest revenue generator.

Symonds said Tonasket made up the “lions share” of visitors, followed closely by Oroville, Omak and Okanogan; and a total of five patients with foreign addresses.

NVH had 109 newborns in 2015.

The majority of hospital visits were made by people in the 65-75 age range, with a total of 5,032; and 33,000 total claims made in the year. Female patients numbered 9,057 and males 8,294. Only 39 patients expired over the year.

For referring providers, the VA had the most with almost 1500.

Medicare was the largest insurance payer.

Chief Financial Officer Helen Verhasselt reported the hospital’s year to date net income to be at $2,840,000 for the entire hospital district.

Verhasselt presented graphs by Washington State Hospital Association that showed NVH in comparison to other area CAH’s over a period of ten years.

“Our performance is going up in comparison to other CAH’s in total revenue,” said Verhasselt, adding that Moody’s Bond Credit Rating agency had given NVH a “double A+” in a lot of categories.

Verhasselt said the hospital’s assets to cover debt and operating cash flow were “still doing better than others in the state despite struggles.”

She said cash on hand was lower than other hospitals, but still balanced.

“Our net revenue was up, then it took a big downswing when the new addition and bonds came into play,” said Verhasselt. “It’s great news to see how we are doing in comparison to other hospitals in the state.”

Verhasselt said state auditors would be performing an audit in February they perform every two years to make sure the hospital is following state laws. The state auditors will be there for two weeks, looking at 2013-14 records and wanting access to information back to 2012. According to Chief Information Officer Kelly Cariker, NVH is continuously being audited by a number of different agencies.

Tina Smith, Director of Nursing Services, reported NVH ending the year with 737 inpatient days in Acute Care/Swingbed; 17 days more than 2014. NVH had 14 more newborns in 2015 than the previous year. ER saw 4729 patients in 2015; 596 more than 2014. There were 584 outpatient treatments; 130 more than last year. In Surgery, there were 503 total procedures and 810 total Outpatient Clinic visits for 2015; 20 more inpatient surgeries and 25 more outpatient surgeries.

Ancillary Services Director Noreen Olma reported reaching an agreement with the Veterans’ Administration December 30 to have a Bridge Contract in place in order to continue serving veterans in the community. The Bridge Contract will be in place until June 30, 2016; with a six-month extension option in the event contract negotiations are still ongoing. The rate of the Bridge Contract is $65 per enrolled veteran per month; a $5.14 increase in rate over the previous contract, though still $5 under what NVH budgeted for in 2016. December enrollment was 820 veterans.

“We are in the preliminary stages of bring in a new provider for the VA Clinic, and that is going well,” said Olma.

She said the Radiology Department went live with their 3-D Mammo unit December 16, and has since performed 45 3-D mammograms “with positive feedback from our patients regarding the hospital being the only facility in the valley with 3-D capabilities.”

In Cariker’s year-end report he said it had been a challenging year for the maintenance department. “We had some issues with heating and cooling, but they got those resolved,” said Cariker, adding that a representative from McKinstry would be at the February 11 meeting to go over the geothermal system.

“We’re getting into spring and should try to move on that if you choose,” said Cariker.

McKinstry serves as the energy services company for both King County and the University of Washington, with projects in several area healthcare facilities including Harborview, Seattle Childrens, Overlake and Swedish Hospitals.

Cariker said the Information Technology Department received high scores from a HIPAA Security Risk Analysis report.

“We had an improvement since the last security risk analysis; we scored higher and got the green light to do attestation for meaningful use Stage 2, and will be testing for Stage 2 Meaningful Use reimbursement,” said Cariker.

Meaningful Use is part of the HIPPA law and Obamacare, with providers required to prove they are meaningfully using a CMR (certified medical records) in order to be eligible for payments from the federal government under the Medicare or Medicaid her (electronic health records) incentive program.

“The hospital gets reimbursed for investing in medical records and tracking things the federal government needs to see. It also gives us the ability to share information with other hospitals and electronically send patient records to other providers,” said Cariker. “The guidelines are very stringent for reimbursement. Our community (members on the Strategic Planning Commission) and hospital board have always stressed we need to be a leader in technology.”

Cariker also reported the dietary department switched to a new menu and new suppliers.

“Tayloe (Vance) and his team are looking to redo the menu so it is healthier with less food wastage,” said Cariker. “They are working with the dietician; we want to up the bar again in how we do in dietary. NVH serves locally grown produce when available.

“Whenever we can, we try to get foods available locally. Double S Meats is one of our major vendors,” said Cariker.

Human Resources Director Jan Gonzales said a celebration was in order for the end-of-year numbers of employee injuries, workers compensation and turnover.

“This year we beat our high year of the best we’ve done since 2007 regarding number of injuries district-wide with employees,” said Gonzales. “We’re celebrating everyone working as a team, because when it happens it lowers costs and raises morale.”

Gonzales said there were nine injuries on the hospital side and five on the Long Term Care side for the entire year.

“Everyone’s done such a good job on that. Turnover was better than last year; five percent on the hospital side and 22 percent for the entire hospital district. Last year we had 28 percent. I am really proud of everyone for the hard work in getting our numbers better,” Gonzales said.

Linda Holden, Director of Extended Care, reported seven residents passing in the last seven weeks. Holden said the practice of consistent assignment (allowing residents to have the same care giver assigned throughout their stay) “contributes to the poignancy of these losses.”

“Our care staff understands all thje nuances of preference of ‘their resident;’ from how they may like their coffee, their favorite television shows and music, when they want to rest or retire for the night as well as all the other support and niceties we strive to provide,” said Holden. “Our staff may be the only one with the resident as they pass when they have no family member.”

Holden said the facility gratefully accommodates visiting family members by providing lounge chairs or a bed when possible.

“We like to make sure families are comfortable, so we do offer a few meals or snacks,” said Holden. “Recently we passed up a chance to remodel an empty room in order to provide support for a large family who wanted to be with their loved one.”

Holden said that while she did not know if it was customary to report to the Board on such topics, “it is a real part of our daily mission of providing for our residents and their families in our hometown community. We are in the center of the wheel of life.”