June 4, 2008 Edition

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Lawrence Hall to
offer respite care

Gretchen Hunt

Sarah Wright, administrator of Lawrence Hall Nursing Center, reported on a new respite care program at the Lawrence Health Services Board meeting on May 27.

She reported that LHNC was notified last week by the Elders Choice program with Human Services that the nursing home has received a license for the respite care program. The license will allow the nursing home to begin receiving patients in need of short term care.

Wright also reported on the recent Arkansas Healthcare Association meeting. She said LHNC is pursuing a culture change involving the Eden alternative.

The Eden alternative involves a move away from the traditional institution approach to patient care and will enhance the quality of life of the residents.

George Fray, interim administrator, presented a strategic plan that has an emphasis on improvement of the physical plant and using the balanced scorecard approach. Using a balanced scorecard approach allows LHS to set operation goals and measure success.

Fray also discussed the growing burden of increased bad debt and charity. The hospital has approved $265,000 for charity year-to-date and the bad debt has grown to $1,185,000 for this fiscal year-to-date.

The bulk of bad debt is from the emergency department. He said a growing concern is the number of non-emergency patients seeking care who actually need to be seen by their primary care physician for treatment. He reported that the bad debt has increased 33 percent from the previous year.

Also during the meeting, the Board of Directors approved employee benefits for July 1, 2008, through June 20, 2009. The benefits include: health, life, dental, vision, cancer and short-term disability insurance.

The health insurance premiums with Blue Cross Blue Shield will not increase. The total cost for the benefit program is projected to be $585,000 for the period.

In other business:

  • Rosalind Casillas, director of nursing, reported on the National Patient Safety Goals and the current quality data on heart failure, pneumonia and myocardial infarction. The scores continue to reflect performance that exceeds state and national averages.

  • Junior Briner, vice president for support services, shared the monthly Environmental Safety Report. The report reflected no incidents and compliance with all seven elements on the performance improvement plan.

  • Wilma Jones, chairman of the Foundation, presented a recommendation from Foundation for the approval of Danny Gibson for the Foundation Board. The vote by the board was unanimous that Gibson be made a member of the Foundation Board.

  • the board approved several medical staff applications, upon the recommendation of the Credentials Committee of the medical staff. They include the re-appointment of Larry Johnson, MD, radiology, and initial appointments of Quitman Jones, MD, and Tyghe Nielsen, MD, emergency medicine.

  • Vanessa Wagner, chief financial officer, presented the budget for the coming year for review. The budget reflects a continuation of the current budget.

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