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WGH directors get assistance in improving hospital efficiency, stability

Directors of Wilbarger General Hospital were introduced to Ron Vigus, regional vice president for Quorum Health Resources which is assisting the hospital with reorganization efforts to improve efficiency and financial stability, during a monthly business meeting Tuesday in which they also approved changing the schedule of monthly meetings.
Vigus addressed the board about Quorum’s efforts which include identify productivity levels compared to other hospitals in the region and finding ways to improve efficiency for which a draft report will completed in two weeks. He reported that he plans to return to future meetings to discuss and suggest proposals to bring the hospital back to financial sustainability and present board members an action to help the hospital focus in key points such as leadership recruitment, improve financial performance, make recommendations for long-term success, an assessment of the hospital information technology system.
Quorum also conducted a similar study of Wilbarger General’s operations in 2015.
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dennis Jack reported that Wilbarger County is looking into the creation of a re-investment zone for a proposed wind farm to be located on the Waggoner Ranch. He said the hospital has two options to consider for tax purposes. The first option is a PILOT program to accept direct payments from the wind farm operator in lieu of tax revenues over a 10-year period or have the property tax abated for which taxing entities would lose revenue. Jack said it would be about six months before values of the proposed wind farm are firm and the estimated amount the hospital could receive from the direct payment option would be known.
Barbara Brooks, the hospital’s chief financial officer, said the hospital went into a similar PILOT program for another wind farm constructed in the county a few years ago for which the hospital receives direct payment of $230,000 per year over a 5- or 6-year period.
Dennis said he planned to attend future county commissioner meetings for further information about the proposal.
Jack also reported that one of the hospital’s large 50-year-old chiller needs repairs amounting to a cost of $4,000 and said another chiller can be used as backup until repairs are completed. He also reported two HVAC units were recently replaced at a cost of $5,600 each.
In her CFO’s report, Brooks reported that the hospital has received $39,000 in funding from a tobacco settlement and $178,000 from a Medicaid settlement. She also reported that the process for the proposed 2019-2020 budget has started with the proposal sent to all departments in advance of a budget workshop set for May 23. She said the goal is to have the budget ready for consideration of approval by directors in late August to determine next year’s ad valorem tax rate.
Directors approved the hospital’s financial statement for the month ending March 31 which reported a loss of $199,000 due to the movement of $460,000 in uncompensated care to a previous month along with a bad debt reserve accounting of $150,000. Brooks also noted that volume was down from the same month in 2018 along with emergency room visits.
Chief Nursing Officer Kimberly Babb in her report said that an essential monitoring system is now up and running in the hospital’s operating room, two EKG machines are on order.
Directors also approved the rescheduling of monthly business meetings from the fourth Tuesday of each month to the first Thursday of each month in order to accommodate Vigus’ schedule to permit him to attend as many meetings as possible to update the board about Quorum’s efforts.
Consent agenda items were approved including minutes of the March 26 meeting and the transferring of several tax deeds and property cards for trust property to the City of Vernon.
An executive session was held to discuss the medical staff report and another to discuss personnel matters. Credentialing was approved by directors in open session following the closed session on medical staff for Estevan Vasquez, osteopathic for emergency medicine; CRNA; Benjamin J. Blake, osteopathic for emergency medicine; Dr. James Steven Jones, emergency medicine; Ellis Wells, CRNA. No action was taken in open session following the executive session on personnel matters.

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