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RANGELY — Jack Rich was named the new chairperson of the Rangely District Hospital.
RDH’s outgoing board chairperson Barbara Patterson called to order her final meeting and took the opportunity to read a statement of appreciation to her fellow board members, the assembled members of the hospital staff and the community at large for the privilege of being allowed the opportunity to serve in her capacity.
The next order of business was to swear in new board members Jack Rich and Buford Adams. The other new member, Stephen Petersburg, had been inducted prior to the regular meeting. The meeting was then adjourned, the new members took their places at the table and senior member Rob Mackey called the new meeting to order in the stead of previous vice chair Joyce Muller, who was absent from the meeting. Nominations and voting for new leadership then got underway, with Rich being confirmed as the new chairman, Petersburg as vice chair and Mackey as secretary/treasurer with Muller and Adams as fellow directors.
Regular business then proceeded, with medical practicing privileges continued with Night Hawk Services for radiology consulting and new approval of doctors with the Colorado Neurological Institute for the Neurology and Stroke telemedicine program now in service at the hospital. With the aid of newly acquired teleconferencing equipment and our existing digital scanning machines, rapid response for possible stroke patients can now be accurately diagnosed by specialists in the critical first hours of stroke onset. If clot-busting drugs are recommended and used in the first three hours, the person’s chances of retaining more brain function are greatly increased. Discussions with two new physicians for the hospital are still ongoing and interviews will be scheduled when timing permits.
CEO McCormick stated contacts must proceed with all due expediency to keep a higher interest level with any new recruit.
Concerns about declining patient and procedure numbers in 2008 at the hospital were discussed and it was noted that this trend was spread across most hospitals across the Western Slope. The hospital’s business projections are based on the previous three years, which were at or above average for income and services rendered.
In an attempt to hold the line on nationwide health insurance premiums and expenses for our local employees, different levels and types of coverage are being explored. The current level employees receive is among the best anywhere, but it is not maintainable in the economy of the day so some modifications are inevitable.
Dr. Debra Salter addressed the board with public concerns over the high level of “access fees” charged for procedures such as colonoscopies that are performed at the hospital. It was noted that these fees were about double those being charged at other facilities, including those in Grand Junction. McCormick responded that the fees have already been reduced. He also stated the Colorado Colorectal Foundation will aid uninsured and low income patients with these fees.