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MEEKER | Pioneers Medical Center’s Board of Directors approved a new self-pay policy Tuesday during the regular board meeting. The policy provides a “prompt pay discount” of 20% for self-pay or uninsured patients who pay at the time of service or within 30 days.
Board President Kim Brown asked about the hospital’s profit margin with a discount applied and was assured that the hospital would still make a profit on 80% of billed charges.
Past due accounts are reviewed monthly and turned over to collections after four statements have been issued without payment or setting up a payment plan. No interest is charged on in-house payment plans.
If an account goes to collections, the collections agency takes a 25% cut. Board Secretary Todd Shults asked if there was a policy in place to call patients directly, stating, “It would be worth our time to pick up the phone and call,” before an account is sent to collections.
Unpaid accounts lose the 20% discount option. Patients can work with financial services to set up a payment plan.
Following the resignations of two of seven board members, the board discussed changing the number of board members to five. As with many volunteer boards, getting people to serve is an ongoing challenge. Directors are supposed to be elected, but in the last election cycle there were only enough interested individuals to fill the open seats.
Following discussion about possible drawbacks of going to a five-member board, such as difficulty obtaining a quorum during some months, and the difficulties of the position being all-volunteer, board members voted to approve the change from a seven-member to a five-member board. Officers for the year will remain the same, with Brown as president, Kai Turner as vice-president, and Shults as secretary.
The board heard updates from Dr. Kellie Turner, who said they’re working on improving quality measures at the clinic, encouraging use of the patient portal for doctor-patient communication, and trying to help the sleep lab. Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Andrea Hazelton will act as the sleep lab coordinator for patients.
Turner also said she had a conversation with the operators of the Front Range Clinic, a mobile addiction treatment unit that serves as a rural outreach program providing telemedicine for medication-assisted treatment of addiction disorders.
“The end goal is to help people get stabilized and get back into the community,” Turner said.
The board approved the appointment of PA Marina Brown for Dr. Courtney Fulton, and reappointed Dr. Kevin Borchard and Dr. Justin Grant.
From the orthopedic department, Kristofer Borchard shared promising data received from the maker of the Mako robotic-arm assisted knee replacement equipment. PMC’s orthopedic department is thriving, and patients are recovering faster than average, with better outcomes: shorter hospital stays, 100% discharge to home instead of a rehab facility, to date zero post-surgery infections, and improved physical therapy results by discharge.
The department performed close to 80 joint replacements in the first quarter of this year, while spine, hand, and other orthopedic surgeries are also increasing.
CEO Liz Sellers said representatives from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment were on campus for the annual review of the Walbridge Wing.
“They’re really positive about the Wing and how the patients are cared for,” Sellers said. There are 25 patients in the Wing currently.
Sellers also said thanks to COVID funds and a DOLA grant, the hospital is moving forward with construction of the negative air pressure — or isolation — room.
The board meeting closed in executive session.
By NIKI TURNER – firstname.lastname@example.org