Hospital board hears CEO report including legislation, wages, CFO recruitment 

CEO of the KVHD Tim McGlew

Photos and story by Catherine Stachowiak

At the Kern Valley Healthcare District’s (KVHD’s) board meeting, Thursday, May 9 the board or directors heard about potential changes, which the hospital board and staff can expect may impact Kern Valley Hospital’s budget. 

During Chief Executive Officer Tim McGlew’s report he said California hospitals were focused on a couple of bills, one from the office of Health Care Affordability, which was to meet a 3.5% cost of providing health care.  Every year the amount is supposed to taper down until it meets 3%. 

McGlew thought the legislation could impact the seismic project the hospital was working on.  He said there has only been one case where a hospital got charged for not meeting requirements from such legislation and the fines were millions imposed on the hospital. Such legislation has a lot of people frustrated, McGlew explained to the board. “We also talk about the seismic bill, the state basically is looking to add another three more years, and then eventually an additional five years beyond that, if the cost issues come into play,” he said. “If the hospitals basically claim that they don’t have the money to get this thing done within the five year period, then the state will come in, and the state will audit the cost of the project.”

If the state determines the costs are as claimed, the state would have to come up with the money to facilitate the project. McGlew thinks the state would not shut the hospital down, in such a case.

Board member Gene Parks pondered whether such a scenario would be good news for the district because KVHD would not have to come up with the money for the seismic project if the state provided the money.

McGlew said SB43 is the efforts to change the 51-50 definition in the state of California, which means the state would increase the requirements to provide behavioral health services. “Basically the way that it was described to us, this will be disastrous for the hospitals,” he said.  

On another note, McGlew said the hospital is still conducting interviews in an attempt find a new Chief Financial Officer. One applicant is coming up for an interview soon. The board members and CEO prefer the ideal candidate for the position to be local, and not further away than Bakersfield. 

“We’re getting ready to do the minimum wage adjustments,” McGlew said, “That worked out to about a 2.4% increase.”  The adjustment would also increase pay for current employees with seniority up to the amount of $30 an hour.  The adjustments are based upon the new minimum wage requirements, which California legislation imposed, for hospital and medical staff.  

McGlew told the board, in his report, that because of a bill going forward to provide cost based reimbursement to the rural hospitals, California Hospitalization conducted an analysis to see what losses hospitals endured. McGlew said, “What our survey showed is that there’s roughly about a $3 million lag in our costs versus what we get paid.” 

He also said, “We as a public facility are eligible for some amount of payments that the private hospitals are not.  So we get a rate range adjustment. And that’s what the state provides us each year to make up the difference between the costs that we’ve been reimbursed.”