EPHC continues commitment to expand services

There were brief discussions around topics such as how to better treat and assist patients recovering from strokes and the goal of attracting more patients to utilize the EPHC Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF). “We’re busy and actively seeking patients,” commented Chief Nursing Officer Penny Holland.

All patients who have not been vaccinated now can receive any of the three current vaccine offerings and receive education from health care providers on the benefits of vaccinations to increase the community vaccination rate.

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Thus far, EPHC has successfully vaccinated 2,249 individuals through 20 clinics held since the beginning of the year, and they anticipate these rates to continue increasing.

Human Resources Director Lori Tange mentioned the success of the recent board retreat held for staff at EPHC and noted that the hospital was in the process of onboarding eight new hires.

Year to date finances at EPHC
Chief Executive Officer Doug McCoy reported on behalf of Chief Financial Officer Katherine Pairish, giving year to date numbers. “Currently, patient revenue year-to-date is off budget by $697,722,” McCoy said. “However, it was off about double that back in March, so we have seen a steady and consistent rise in our overall patient revenues which is very positive.”

Although patient revenue was under budget, EPHC managed to post net income in the amount of $3,013,884 as IGT’s, or Intergovernmental Transfers, came in over budget by $2,516,233.

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Property purchased in Loyalton; community panels established
Another item of note was the closing on the purchase of a property in Loyalton on Friday, June 11. The new location will allow for Loyalton’s clinic to expand from three rooms to six rooms, with a target opening date of June 2022.

“We’re in a year over year improvement of revenue,” McCoy noted. “I also really want to thank everyone on our high-quality team in all departments for getting through the number of challenges that were presented during the pandemic.”

McCoy reported that the hospital district would be moving forward on a contract with Custom Learning Systems for the Ignite the Patient Experience program, with a three-year strategic plan to be crafted and finalized in July. “We think it’s a wise investment and we can’t wait to get things started with the community,” McCoy said. He also reported that EPHC has established a Community Advisory Panel, which currently has seven community members and will meet for the first time in mid-July to give recommendations and feedback.

“We have also identified a 12-member Excellence Committee, which is also kicking off in July, so there will be quite a bit to report!” McCoy also emphasized that the new patient experience management process has already shown a marked 90% reduction in patient dissatisfaction.

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McGrath commented that her interactions on campus with staff over the last ten days were markedly improved on all fronts with a nod of approval.

New wellness center
The agenda then pivoted to another exciting update- a new therapy and wellness facility to be located next to the clinic at the Portola EPHC campus. “Eastern Plumas Health Care plans to move forward with the building of a new facility to grow the Therapy and Wellness Center to better serve our patients,” McCoy explained.

The project was initiated over a year ago, according to McGrath. “The services offered are so helpful to so many people,” she commented. In discussion of costs, the board explained the current difficulties prediction construction costs in the current climate.

“The Loyalton project only requires city approval, but this project will likely take more time to even get to construction, which will give time for costs to perhaps settle a bit,” McCoy said. The wellness center expansion will require an estimated $200,000 to furnish both floors with furniture and therapeutic equipment.

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Staff was also excited to announce that there is an exercise program for EPHC staff that will be extended to the community as well. “This has such potential,” said Jim Burson. “There were 19 new referrals just this week for outpatient physical therapy.” After some further discussion, the board unanimously voted to approve the resolution to move forward with the project by roll call vote.

Selecting a new EMR system
The board discussed and voted on a new EMR, or Electronic Medical Record system for the district. Eastern Plumas Health Care plans purchase a new EMR system as the current system being used will be discontinued as of December 2022.

“A new system will take approximately six to nine months to change over and will provide a more efficient system for patients and staff,” McCoy reported.

The board reviewed the various advantages and disadvantages of the EMR systems currently on the market and Swanson emphasized that the EMR system acts as “the bones of the hospital,” making the decision a crucial one.

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Without any final decisions made, the board moved to allow the CEO or CFO to act when the final decision on which system to go with was made, ideally within the next 30 days.

Final business
The board reviewed, discussed, and approved various hospital policies before concluding with a public comment from Carol Mero of Quincy Home Medical Services. “We are doing quality improvement with our home health agency and would like to develop a more communicative relationship with Eastern Plumas,” Mero noted. Director Paul Swanson requested that she reach out directly to himself, and McGrath closed the meeting with the statement that she was “very pleased with the direction EPHC is headed.”