Hospital Commission meets on camera, elects new officers

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On Monday night, Eureka Springs Hospital commissioners held their monthly meeting in the Auditorium for the first time. The meeting was live streamed on YouTube.

As anticipated, Chair John House announced his resignation and new officers were selected for two-year terms. Commissioners Tyson Burden and Barbara Dicks selected each other for chair and vice chair, respectively. Treasurer will be Kent Turner and secretary, Jean Reed.

Commissioners decided the topic for the next workshop would be development of an employee satisfaction survey. Reed said she emailed commissioners a survey template, and the workshop is scheduled for noon, Saturday, Jan. 8, at Main Stage, 67 N. Main St.

Housekeeping hiring happening

Reed reported on her Operations Committee and said that the hospital does not currently have housekeeping staff. Interim-CEO Angie Shaw said that responsibilities for cleaning the hospital were being absorbed internally until new housekeepers are hired. Reed referred to housekeeping as a key position, and Shaw said she anticipates having the positions filled by early January. Shaw also said that the staff pharmacist turned in his resignation effective Jan. 4, and that the hospital terminated a respiratory therapist.

Shaw said she was informed by the State that ESH employees do not qualify for hazard pay as the facility has not met the number of Covid cases required. She also said the large grant received earlier in the year for pandemic support would not qualify to be used for providing employees with hazard pay. Instead, she said the grant funds must be used on expenses such as PPE and other pandemic support.

Shaw also said that more than 20 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer had been received and administered to staff. She said the vaccine is not mandatory for the hospital’s 68 healthcare workers. Shaw said she did not take the vaccine as she still has the antibodies since contracting the virus this fall. She said a second shipment of the vaccines is expected on Jan. 11.

Commissioners unanimously voted to extend the chief financial officer contract with Stone Financial & Tax Center, PLLC through March 31, and added to the contract that the services would be additionally provided by CPA Brent A. Seay. Burden said the contracted fee for services would remain the same. According to a letter signed by House on August 3, the fee for CFO services is $6,500 per month.

Similar to the hospital commission’s meeting in October and November, the CFO was not present so no financial reports were provided. Besides Shaw stating that the census was up since Thanksgiving, averaging six to eight patients a day, there were no indications given of the hospital’s financial health in accounts receivable, accounts payable, cost reporting, or general liquidity. However, Dicks said the commission itself has a cash balance of $1.64 million.

Commissioners entered executive session to review CEO employment applications and after returning they determined to interview five selected, anonymous applicants.

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