The Desert IndependentTM

Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001


HealthCare District Special Meeting

By Robert JENSEN
The Desert Independent

March 25, 2012

BLYTHE, Calif – The Directors of the Palo Verde Valley Healthcare District minus the absent President Jim Carney and Director “Quitty” Pinon found a quorum with the three remaining Directors with Treasurer Sam Burton convening the meeting into Open Session at 6:00 on Wednesday evening. No report was issued as to the discussions in Closed Session and no one present came to the podium during the Public Comment portions of the meeting. Dr. Mohammed Bahktavar, Chief of Staff, was unavailable to provide any reports from the Medical Executive Committee (MEC) and the agenda progressed to the Risk Management Report, provided by Jim Sprague of the James and Gable Insurance Brokers.

In his presentation, Mr. Sprague reported on the valuation of the insurance claims made against the hospital since 2006. On an interesting note, he stated that there had been only 11 malpractice claims made against the hospital since 2006 with five of them happening on only that year. In all, the claims paid out by James and Gable to malpractice petitioners amounted to only $12,818 throughout the five year period. A remarkable achievement that he said made Palo Verde Healthcare the best performing hospital insured by his company.

On the other hand, Workman’s Compensation Claims against the hospital from employees over the same period came to a grand total of 114 actions amounting to over $1,285,349 since November of 2006. In 2008, there was a little over $500,000 paid out in claims in just that year. However, Mr. Sprague ended his presentation on a brighter note stating that the claims have been diminishing over the past couple of years and, under Human Relations Director Rebecca Morse’s oversight, the past fiscal year saw only 2 claims filed against the hospital with a combined liability of only $1,600.

Several contracts and agreements were ratified in the General Administration section of the agenda. They were:

  • An agreement with Dr. Bakhtavar was ratified in which his monthly stipend of $3,000 was extended for his services as the Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Director.

  • Dr. Paglinawan saw his Cardiopulmonary/EKG Reading Services Agreement ratified in which he is still being paid $6.75 per reading.

  • Dr. Bowen’s ongoing Radiology Service Agreement was ratified for another extension.

  • Dr. Sahlobei’s Surgical Services On Call Agreement was approved for his continued rate of $1,000 per day with the concurred deletion of a minor clause in the contract.

A Donation Request was made by the Blythe Emergency Food Pantry for the amount of $10,000 for continued operations. CEO Klune affirmed to the Board that the organization was indeed a non-profit 501(C) 3 organization whose mission fell within the parameters of donation guidelines for the hospital. With that, Director Rosalie Carlton made the motion that $1,000 be made available for use by the Pantry which was seconded and approved.

In Administrative Updates, CEO Peter Klune gave a brief update on a Seismic Compliance Waiver Application that has been sent to the State that may grant a relief period of up to7 years – until 2020 in which to come up to code as far as earthquake-proofing the facility goes. The application has to be followed by an expressed interest and an actual plan for achieving this goal within the time period. Mr. Klune warned the Board that this application was no guarantee and that anything could happen.

Mr. Klune then reported that the telemedicine equipment that may be paid for with a $300,000 grant from – of all places – the US Department of Agriculture is being installed. The technology is such that a specialist may observe and converse with a patient from across the State – a position that the Hospital cannot afford.

It was then announced that Mrs. Peggy Abbs would be retiring at the end of the month as Lab Director but would be staying on in a limited, clinical capacity – ensuring that proper paperwork and procedures are being following.

CFO Dennis Rutherford gave a preliminary view of the Financial Report as it would be completed in full for the next meeting. February was not a good month, he averred, and the IGT payment discussed last month would be digging into the profit margin for the month until it is reimbursed. As is, he stated that there was $8,208,274 cash on hand at this time. He concluded with the presentation of an Authorization Matrix that defined the limits of authority for each member of the Hospital in regards to the approval and origin of expenditures.

Mr. Rutherford also expanded on the WOWS – Workstations on Wheels – which are mobile computer workstations that can be moved from room to room making for paperless charts of patients progress. There is already one installed in the ER with two more coming. Thirteen more of these WOWS will be distributed throughout the HMS facility. Mr. Rutherford further stated that he had filed the first attestation to the state declaring that they are eligible for Stage I funding. He expects that the Hospital will receive $5-$600,000 for first year implementation with the funds coming from Medicaid.

Human Resources Director Rebecca Morse declared Kathleen Smith-Aguirre, the Case Manager for the Quality and Risk Management to be Hospital Employee of the Month. Ms. Smith-Aguirre was not present, but Ms. Morse stated that, while her work is quite confidential and involves procuring ongoing patient care for those that leave the hospital, her deportment of dignity and grace sets her above and beyond her colleagues.

A brief CNO report was made by Tara Barth in which she thanked those involved during a work shortage over the last month for keeping the hospital running in a safe and efficient manner.

The next regular meeting of the Palo Verde Health Care District Board of Directors will be held on April 25th, 2012, in the Professional Building Conference Room, 205 N. First Street.

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