August 24, 2011 Edition

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LHNC seeks to increase
number of private rooms

Lawrence Hall Nursing Center is considering lowering the number of beds it is licensed for in order to increase the number of private rooms available for residents.

The Lawrence Health Services Board of Governors unanimously approved a recommendation from LHS President Terry Lambert to request that the the Office of Long Term Care decrease the number of licensed beds from 189 to 179.

Lambert told board members at the July meeting that the rationale behind this recommendation is that net income had the potential to increase by at least $25,000 annually with the change due to their payment methology.

"The demand for private rooms continues to increase and several semi-private rooms have already been converted to privates," he said. "Decreasing the number of licensed beds is just the right thing to do."

If approved, the license for those 10 beds will go back into the state pool for redistribution, and another nursing center in the state could apply to add beds.

Lambert said if the need ever arises in the future, Lawrence Hall can petition the state for increased beds.

Board members also learned that according to state projections, Lawrence County is currently over bedded with long term care beds but is under bedded for assisted living.

Finances better than expected

Vanessa Wagner, chief financial officer told board members that LHNC's revenue for the month was $694,810, which produced a net income of $87,275. The year to date net income for the nursing home stands at $1,191,618.

The hospital had a net income for the month of $79,659. This was boosted by donations being recorded from the Foundation. The year to date loss stands at $993,859.

It was reported that this is primarily due to a decrease in inpatient census and outpatient services. Expenses were only three percent greater than the previous year and were one percent less than budget.

The Lawrence Health Services system, which includes the entire operation, had a net income for the month of $166,934 and a resulting net income for the year of $197,757, which was much better than the budget of $2,275.

To stay with St. Bernards

Members were presented with a proposed amendment to the management agreement with St. Bernards, as well as a copy of the original agreement for review and consideration.

The amendment extends the current agreement on a yearly basis and automatically renews unless either party notifies the other. In addition, either party can cancel the agreement, for any reason, at anytime, with a 180-day notice.

The general consensus was that LMH was getting a great value for the money. The board felt that St. Bernards provides needed expertise for the continual operation of the facility. Following the discussion, the amendment was approved.

It was noted that St. Bernards simply manages LMH. St. Bernards does not lease or own the hospital. Part of the agreement does, however, provide LMH with a local president/administrator, which at this time is Lambert.

Wheelis named director of nurses

Linda Smith, LHNC administrator, introduced Debbie Wheelis, RN as the new director of nurses for the nursing home. Wheelis has worked for LHNC for over 25 years. She started as a nurse's aide, became an LPN, then an RN and a hall manager, then the assistant director of nurses before this recent promotion.

In this new role, she will continue to serve as the wound care nurse, as well.

In other business:

  • the medical staff report was given by Dr. Paul Vellozo, chief of staff. Seven providers were recommended for reappointment and one cardiologist was recommended for initial appointment. The recommendation was approved.

  • Lambert gave the quality and safety report, stating that core measures are still being met by the hospital at 100 percent, and LMH is still in the number one ranking in the state, comparing all hospitals, large and small.

  • board members voted to allocate funds to improve the heating and cooling in the emergency department and the Family Medical Center. Since the renovation, those areas have been too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. The plan, at a cost of $16,823, calls for the addition of two 1,200 CFM fan coil units and the relocation several other units.

  • the Strategic/Management Plan for 2011-2012 was approved. The plan outlines the progress and accomplishments in every department, as well as the goals for 2011-12, with measureable targets included. The budgets, which were previously approved, are also a part of the plan.

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