By Debbie Teofilo
Special to the Sun
At its meeting held on September 4, the Board of Directors for the Kern Valley Healthcare District (KVHD) approved a set of 10 goals to be accomplished at KVHD by the end of its new fiscal year beginning July 1.
CEO Tim McGlew is to lead this effort, and for the first time his annual performance evaluation will be tied to the success of meeting these measurable goals:
1. Increase the number of Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) residents to 62 by the end of the second quarter and to average over 65 by the last quarter of the fiscal year. (Current status: July’s average was 59 residents)
2. Develop an in-house training program for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) by December 2019 to ensure a steady stream of CNAs available to serve the higher number of residents at the SNF. (Update: A $4,000 grant has been approved to help fund the program. An application is being submitted in September to obtain state approval of the training program.)
3. License and implement the KVHD mobile clinic by January 2020. (Update: Tentative delivery of the new Mobile Clinic van is expected at the end of September after which licensing and certification can be finalized.)
4. End the fiscal year with a financial profit by appropriately managing its resources and operations. (Status: KVHD generated a net profit of $64,602 in July, the first month of its new fiscal year.)
5. Assure contract compliance for all providers of professional services prior to contract renewals.
6. Reduce employee-related claims by ensuring manager and supervisors fully comply with employment laws and regulations, and assure disciplinary policy compliance.
7. Reduce the volume of employee injury claims and corresponding premium costs.
8. Begin the seismic upgrade process to ensure that the hospital will be fully compliant and available for services beyond 2030. (Update: KVHD has applied for a FEMA grant for this purpose and is currently awaiting the decision.)
9. Enhance advocacy efforts in support of and/or concern for pending legislative matters affecting KVHD operations.
10. Continue ongoing transparency with the community.
CFO Chet Beedle spearheaded an effort for KVHD departments to develop their own strategic improvement plans which is resulting in a set of goals that each individual department is to meet by the end of the fiscal year.
Beedle reported that outpatient clinic visits were up 33 percent in July 2019 over what they were in July 2018. It was suggested that this was due to the addition of Dr. Sarah Lopez to the staff of Mountain View Health Center one year ago. A member of the public agreed, expressing praise for Dr. Lopez’ willingness to listen to patient concerns.
McGlew stated that substantial building code changes are set to go into effect in January 2020 which would add about $2 million to the cost of the seismic remodel for the hospital. The current building codes would be locked in if the architectural plans could be submitted to the state before December 31. At the KVHD Building and Planning Committee meeting on August 27, the Board of Directors approved the expenditure of $140,000 for the architect to complete the work and submit the plans before that date. Even if the FEMA grant were not approved for the entire project, a remodel of the ER alone would still be built using KVHD’s own funds, so code savings on this section would still be achieved by submitting plans early.
Also approved by the board were funds for a billing management software system which will improve efficiency so claims can be paid sooner. Patient Financial Services Manager Judy Littrell described the goals she set for her department to increase cash flow and reduce write-offs which will be made easier with the new software and its contract management system.
The Kern Valley Hospital Foundation is offering three upcoming events on the hospital grounds. An additional diabetic cooking class has just been added which takes place on three consecutive Wednesday evenings from September 11 through 25. A community health fair is scheduled for Friday morning, September 20, and a Crabfest fundraiser will be held on Saturday evening, September 21.