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Alliance, Hemingford, Hyannis Rural Health Clinic Advisory Board meetings report

The annual Alliance, Hemingford, and Hyannis Rural Health Clinic (RHC) Advisory Board meetings for Greater Nebraska Medical and Surgical Services (GNMSS) were held over the noon hours of August 6, August 28 and September 23 respectively. The RHC meetings included topics on physician recruitment, nursing updates, review of patient volumes and fiscal year financial reports for each clinic, chart review results, and each clinic’s plans and goals.

GNMSS representatives attending all three meetings included: Box Butte General Hospital (BBGH) CEO Lori Mazanec, Administrative Assistant Brittany Stull, Clinic Manager Joni Sautter, COO Jim Bargen, and Marketing’s Brian Kuhn.

Attending the Alliance meeting were: Medical staff members Kristin Ferguson, APRN-BC, and Jerre Mount, PA-C; Advisory Board members Thomas Furman, DVM, and Linda Schneider. Attending the Hemingford meeting were: Hemingford Clinic staff Brittney Bauer, PA-C, nurses Kendra Elford and Heather Rehder, and Medical Assistant Christy Leonard; Advisory Board members Joni Jespersen and Lynda Novotny. Attending the Hyannis Clinic meeting were: Hyannis Clinic Staff member Abby Vogel, APRN-BC; Advisory Board members Alice Dubs, Heidi Merrihew, Cliff Dailey, Lyle Burton, and Vickie Retzlaff.

At all three meetings, minutes were reviewed and approved. Lori reviewed new physician efforts, reporting that Dr. Derek Shafer came on board in July of this year. He and Dr. Timothy Narjes of Alliance Family Medicine will start seeing Obstetric patients the first of October. Also at all three meetings, the new logo for GNMSS was introduced, as well as chart reviews specific for that clinic.

At the Alliance meeting, Lori mentioned new Surgical Suite Clinic medical staff includes: Dr. Patrick Johnston, Orthopedic Hand Specialist; Dr. Robert Burgess, replacing Dr. White in ENT; Tiffany Kosterman, PA-C, Clinical Orthopedics; Rachelle Eyre, APRN-BC, assisting in the Urology and Orthopedic Spine clinics. At the Hemingford meeting, she reviewed Physician Assistant Brittney Bauer’s weekly schedule in Hemingford, as well as those of Nursing Practitioners Sally Bryner and Abby Vogel, and Dr. Jessica Ott.  In Hyannis she reported Abby Vogel has taken on an educational opportunity that required her usual Wednesday clinic be rescheduled to Mondays, with other medical staff filling in when needed.

Various nursing staff updates of interest for each RHC was presented by Joni:

In Alliance, the clinic has added a third LPN position in the Surgical Suite. A recent  vacant LPN position has been filled, and a new LPN hired in December for Dr. Steve Boyer. For the Hemingford Clinic, Joni said Medial Assistant Christy Leonard continues to see patients with Brittany. She also said GNMSS is seeking to fill an open registration position at the clinic. Joni introduced Kendra Elford, GNMSS’s Population Health Nurse. Kendra explained her position mostly has to do with tracking and helping with Wellness Visits at all the GNMSS clinics. Wellness Visits focus on preventative care for Medicare patients. The once-per-year visit is completely covered by Medicare.

In Hyannis, Joni said a nursing change for Abby is in the works, with available nurses coming to Hyannis with her when available. At that time, Vickie asked if the hospital would be interested in conducting a community survey of Grant County area residents on medical needs. Lori indicated the hospital would look into the request.

The volume and financial information of each community’s clinic were reviewed. In Alliance, there were 9,503 patient encounters for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, compared to 9,300 the previous fiscal year. In Hemingford there were 1,341, compared to 1,340 last year. Hyannis’ encounters were 120, compared to 154 the previous year.

Financials for each clinic were discussed, with Alliance showing an operating loss of $2,097,524, almost exactly as budgeted. Hemingford’s operating loss was $18,285, compared to a loss of $257,580 projected. Hyannis’ operating loss was $61,671, compared to a loss of $67,706 budgeted. Lori stressed that most RHCs typically lose money, but are seen as vital for the hospital’s mission to lead and innovate in healthcare delivery and community wellness. The clinics help the hospital’s operations through patient referrals as well.

Under the agenda item of clinic plans and goals, the Alliance Advisory Board was informed that conversation is underway regarding a potential relocation for the GNMSS Family Medicine Clinic to the space currently occupied by Alliance Family Medicine (AFM).  AFM has requested a reduction in square footage due to smaller medical staff, while GNMSS is in need of additional footage due to an expanded medical staff.  In a general discussion, two members of the Alliance community were named as possible Advisory Board members.

In Hemingford, Jim told the Advisory Board that bids on the new Hemingford Clinic building project have been received from three area contractors and that they will be reviewed by the end of September. Joni thanked the hospital for investing in the community and seeking to use local contractors for the project.

In Hyannis, Lyle asked about the status of having a physician hold a half day clinic on Fridays, returning the weekly clinic schedule to a day and a half instead of the current one day per week. Lori said that could be revisited with the physician in question now that he has been with GNMSS for a year.

The Alliance meeting included a report from Joni on the clinic’s successful Rural Health Clinic Survey, the first to occur over the past nine years. No deficiencies were found, with Joni expressing her appreciation to the staff for consistently following policies and procedures.

A member of each Advisory Board was assigned to review all that clinic’s policy and procedures manual for 2019.

All meetings adjourned in under an hour.

Box Butte General Hospital is an equal opportunity provider and employer.