PMC Board Notes Virus Impact on Community, Hospital Operations

Prowers Medical Center



The Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors will remain almost the same as before the May, 2020 election. During the board’s monthly meeting, Wednesday, May 27, the motion was made and approved to have Julie Branes serve as chair, Ron Farmer as vice-chair, Connie Brase as secretary/treasurer and Amber Thompson will assume her new role as recording secretary.

Under Continuing Education on the agenda, the board voted to approve funding for Dan Klepacz, Orthopedic Physician’s Assistant, to further his education and abilities to assist in the hospital’s operating room. His duties are mainly in the specialty clinic, but additional training would allow him to become certified as a first-assist in the operating room. The board also approved a request from Miranda Fisher who is currently employed as Prowers Medical Center’s Comptroller.   She plans to attain a master’s degree in health administration. The hospital currently has eight employees in the continuing education program which offers funding for professional training in return for a commitment to remain employed at the hospital for a contracted amortized term. Two of the eight are currently in medical school and another is training to become a Nurse Practitioner.

PMC Attorney, Joe Bauer, provided legislative updates for board members, specifically on the financial impact the coronavirus may have on Medicaid reimbursements for the hospital. “The Joint Budget Committee is looking at a $3 billion shortfall in tax revenues and it will impact the Medicaid payments by from 1% to 1.5% which, given the amount, will be a big cut. This is something the board needs to watch for any future impact to the hospital,” he cautioned.

Amber Rider, chairperson of the Prowers Medical Center Foundation, noted the annual fund-raising gala for June 12th has been cancelled. “We’re contacting ticket holders and sponsors to see if they want us to issue a refund, credit for next year’s event or to make their purchase as a donation for this year,” she explained. Rider acknowledged this year has been great for donations at $89,000, the highest amount ever, compared to the next best year and employee contributions are up 157%. A sizeable portion of the donations have been allocated to the IT fund at the hospital. “We want to continue this momentum through 2020 and are continuing our search for an executive director for the Foundation and we will work with a grant writer for funding which will help align our programs with the goals of the hospital,” she added.

Karen Bryant hospital Chief Executive Officer, Julie Branes, Board Chair and Scott Turner, PMC’s liaison from Quorum Health Resources, provided the board with an update on the virus impact to the hospital. Branes said the March 25th emergency declaration is still in place and acknowledged a shortage of available means of obtaining PPE and other supplies. Turner said QHR has secured a warehouse in Tennessee which is stockpiling all forms of emergency supplies for client hospital requests. “We have seen requests in one week range between 29 to 51 clients over the past six weeks.” QHR, he added, has created a daily website created for the sole purpose of providing timely information on the latest findings on the nature of COVID-19 and the best means of treating patients.

Bryant recapped a recent update she provided to the Prowers County Commissioners, stating that the hospital is beginning to look at the best means possible of returning to its former physical state before steps were taken to isolate virus patients from the rest of the staff. Testing protocols are still being used before allowing entry to the basic hospital buildings. “Our rehab clinic is beginning to transition away from the temporary virus ward we had set up at the outset,” she stated, but added that by the same token, PMC is reviewing the best policies for returning to patient isolation status should a second wave or outbreak present itself later this spring or summer.

In action following the earlier executive session, the board voted to approve a contract with Karen Bryant as the hospital’s new Chief Executive Officer and authorized hazardous pay for team members. PMC board meetings are held the fourth Wednesday of every month at 6pm at the hospital cafeteria.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEducationFeaturedHealthPublic Safety


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