By Debbie Teofilo
Special to the Sun
The Kern Valley Healthcare District (KVHD) is in the process of finalizing its Fiscal Year 2019 budget for July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019, which includes an estimate of patient volume by type of service. These numbers were presented at its Board of Directors meeting on March 7.
The figures demonstrate an active healthcare district in providing services to the community. Of particular note for its urgent need, visits to the Emergency Room (ER) are generally about 20 patients per day (610 per month.) Use of acute inpatient beds is expected to average 6.5 beds per day. Physical therapy visits are very active at 76 per day, with respiratory therapy at 36 per day.
Rural Health Clinic visits are 66 per day Monday through Friday. The Skilled Nursing Facility is budgeted to average 67 patients in 2019, with higher numbers possible as additional Certified Nursing Assistants become available.
With all of the patient traffic approaching the hospital each day, KVHD just added a permanent sign at the corner of McCray Road and Laurel Avenue to help direct patients to the ER and Rural Health Clinic.
CFO Chet Beedle stated that January was one of the best months KVHD has experienced financially and well exceeded what had been budgeted. The month ended with a profit of $152,060, for a total 7-month net profit of $923,666 from July 2017 through January 2018. The shorter month of February is not expected to be nearly as profitable.
CEO Tim McGlew announced that an application to the California Energy Commission for a $1.8 million loan at a low 1 percent interest rate has been completed and submitted to fund energy efficient equipment improvements at the hospital. If the loan is approved as expected in April or May, this amount will not have to be added to the upcoming tax measure to fund the state-mandated seismic improvements to the hospital. KVHD has been able to reduce the former state remodel budget by $12 million, and is meeting with leaders in the community to get their feedback on the proposed changes. KVHD is also working on a Community Health Needs Assessment by conducting interviews during the week of March 26.
Chief Nursing Officer Mark Gordon stated that the “CSI Momentum” grant received from Kaiser Permanente for opioid addiction education is a huge success. Two assemblies have been planned for Kern Valley High School students on Monday, March 19, and will include presentations by two sports personalities who will add their personal comments on the problem of addiction.
The next KVHD Board of Directors meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 4 at 6:00 p.m. in the Administrative Conference Room at the hospital.