NRMC discusses strategy for surviving economic slowdown

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nevada Regional Medical Center Chief of Nursing Operations Harlo McCall told the board of directors during their regular monthly meeting that the hospital's nursing vacancies are at an all-time low.

McCall said the low turnover rate may be in part the result of a program to be sure proper orientation is given to nurses in new positions.

"We've had zero percent turnover," McCall said. "Proper orientation is important to retention, the cost is about $8,000 per nurse but the results are worth it."

CEO Judy Feuquay said that the administration was working to keep the hospital in good financial shape during the economic slowdown with emphasis on customers, saying it was good stewardship to do so.

"We want to keep our current customers by giving great care and guest services, eliminating service barriers and by being visible in the community," Feuquay said. "We want to gain new customers by adding new services, recruiting physicians and partnering with current physicians to retain patients in lieu of transfer. And reduce expenditures, review service lines and maintain good productivity to keep expenses in check."

Feuquay told the board hospital CFO Cindy Buck had completed a debt capacity analysis to determine if the hospital could or should take on additional debt or fund improvements through operational income.

As part of the analysis a review of the hospitals Standard and Poor's rating was done and the current rating was maintained and the possibility of improving it was mentioned.

"The annual review affirmed the "BBB-" rating with a stable outlook," Feuquay said. "If improvements continue and no additional debt is taken on we can expect the rating to increase to "BBB with a positive outlook" during the next review."

Feuquay introduced the hospital's new Human Resources administrative officer, Bennie Salkil, to the board during her presentation.

David Harms, speaking for Denise Sloniker, told the board that Moore-Few had completed a plan of correction for the deficiencies noted during the last state survey the facility underwent. He also spoke of safety improvements in both long-term care facilities.

"Moore-Few completed the plan of correction for the state survey deficiencies, much of the plan consisted of developing and implementing improved forms for documentation and staff education," Harms said. "The new smoke detectors in patients rooms and the new fire panel have been installed at Moore-Few and the work at Barone should begin within the next couple of weeks."

The board approved several items including one that had been previously approved. Board President Glenn Rogers explained why.

"The board has previously approved this project, but because of our delay in moving forward, we felt it prudent to bring it before the committee and board again before proceeding," Rogers said.

"This project will provide much needed equipment in the kitchen try line area, cooks' area, and minor equipment in the cafe."

Approval items included: $28, 445 for an electronic claims submission contract with Emdeon to replace the current vendor XPact that formerly provided the service before deciding to discontinue the product; a contract with Metropolitan Sleep Services for $130,000 which is a renewal; and a renewal of an office lease with Dr. John Weaver for $17,665.

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