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home : local news : local news
November 20, 2018

10/19/2018 10:51:00 AM
Hospital board unsure about proposal to station Carle ambulance here

A neighboring county's hospital would like to base one of its ambulances at Crawford Memorial Hospital.

But while CMH board members want to do all they can to make sure patients are able to get the services they need, they are hesitant to do anything that might harm the local ambulance service.

Carle Richland Memorial Hospital recently approached CMH about stationing one of its advanced cardiac life support ambulances at the local emergency room. It would be available to transport patients from CMH to other facilities that offer services CMH doesn't offer.

It would cost CMH nothing; the ambulance would be provided by Carle and staffed by Carle paramedics.

During Wednesday's CMH board meeting, Chief Executive Officer Doug Florkowski said the proposal does offer benefits.

"There are challenges in getting patients transferred for services we don't provide," Florkowski said. "This would address a need about patients and getting them where they need to go."

He explained United Life Care Ambulance, Robinson, can't always transport patients. Sometimes its ambulances are already busy. Other times, the hospital needs to transfer a patient the service can't take.

CMH already has a relationship with Carle. The local ER is staffed by Carle Foundation Hospital physicians.

The down side, board Chairman Von Meeks pointed out, is that having a Carle ambulance here could have a negative impact on United Life Care.

"We need an ambulance in our community," Meeks said.

"Our preference is to keep local and we will continue to support them," Florkowski said. "But we also have patients who need taken care of. This would be a step in that direction."

No decision was made on the proposal.

Also Wednesday, the board accepted the audit report for fiscal 2018. Mark Dallas of the accounting firm of KEB, presented a clean report that showed a hospital in financial turnaround.

CMH last year posted a bottom line gain of $1.3 million, compared to a loss in FY 2017. If the hospital hadn't had to pay $730,000 to settle a Medicare non-compliance issue, the gain would have been about $2 million, Dallas said.

"You're in a strong financial position," he added. "Historically, this hospital has always had a strong operating performance."

"We've rebounded nicely," Florkowski said.

However, the hospital posted a $78,500 operating loss in September, its first negative outcome since the start of the fiscal year in May.

Still, CMH is ahead of where it was financially a year ago, new interim Chief Financial Officer Cindy Bock said. The hospital is in the black for the year to date, compared to being $710,000 in the red last year at this time.

The September deficit was attributed to downturns in orthopedic and general surgery revenues.

"They're pretty heavy hitters in generating revenues," Bock explained.

In other financial matters, the board approved paying Sycamore Engineering $41,900 and architect David Johnson $2,988 for services on the radiology department renovations. About $1,800 was approved for sundry items such as the purchase and installation of fixtures, millwork and doors.

It was also announced Wednesday that CMH's long-term care unit, the Magnolia Center, has picked up two more honors.

"It's an outstanding facility," board member Wanda James said.

The center has been named to the Illinois National Nursing Home Quality Care Collaborative honor roll to recognize its performance on the Nursing Home Compare long-stat quality measures. Nursing homes on the Nursing Home Quality Collaborative Honor Roll have achieved a quality measure composite score of six or less for at least one quarter, which has aligned with the top 10 percent of nursing homes in the United States.

"This award is another example of the excellent care Magnolia Center provides every day," said Administrator Sandi Burtron. "We make sure we are following best practices and delivering the highest standard of care for every resident and that is reflected in this honor. I'm proud to be part of a team that pushes itself every day to be the very best."

The National Nursing Home Quality Care Collaborative, led by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Telligen Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization, launched in April with the mission to improve care of the 1.4 million nursing home residents across the nation.

"Nursing homes on the Illinois honor roll have demonstrated a focus on safety and quality," said Deanna Curry, Telligen QIN-QIO quality improvement manager. "We applaud the Magnolia Center's hard work and its commitment to its residents and staff to provide excellent long-term care.

Meanwhile, a statewide organization has honored the center's activities director for excellence in leadership.

Brenda Hunt was named the latest recipient of the Illinois Activity Professionals Association's Larry-Madge Award, presented each year to an activity professional who excels in leadership and professionalism.

The award was named after Larry ver Steegh and Madge Schweinsberg, who were both founders and leaders of their local and statewide activity organizations.

"The activity director is key to improving the quality of life for our residents," Burtron said. "Brenda does an exceptional job making sure our residents are engaged and connected. Each resident here becomes a part of her family and she makes sure they feel that."

This is the second year in a row Hunt has been recognized by the IAPA. In 2017, she received the Dorene Award for outstanding contributions to the activities profession.

Established in 1979, the Illinois Activity Professionals Association is dedicated to enriching the education and professionalism of those working in activities to enhance the quality of life for individuals residing in a variety of care settings in Illinois.

In other business, Meeks appointed James, John Daugherty and Stewart Schutte to a nominating committee that will prepare a slate of possible board officers for 2019.





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