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Posted on Mar 4, 2016

Hospital survey headed to public’s mailboxes

Quincy Valley Medical Center leaders hope that a public survey they are mailing to homes next week will provide some answers as to how they should move forward with the financially strapped operation.
The four-question survey is expected to be mailed to some 5,200 homes in the hospital district sometime next week, said Randy Zolman, chairman of the hospital’s board of commissioners.
The survey is on the hospital’s website. It also is printed in the March 3 Quincy Valley Post-Register.
Zolman is hoping for a return rate of 10 percent to 25 percent. The surveys are due by March 25.
The survey asks people to prioritize hospital services as well as whether they would support the construction of a new facility geared toward those services.
The information gathered from the surveys then will be used to determine some of the future decisions the board must make, such as what services and programs it will offer to the community.
“We’re offering (the public) a chance to give their input,” Zolman said.
Zolman said last week that he believes the hospital will be operating in the black by mid-year. He said that means he expects to see a monthly profit; it doesn’t mean the hospital will have its $3 million loan with the county paid off.
Grant County commissioners last year warned the hospital that it was capping the warrant line at $3 million. In years past, that warrant line has reached as much as $4 million.
Most of last year, the hospital’s warrant line straddled close to that $3 million cap. However, the warrant line this past month reached $3.6 million because of a $574,000 Medicare payment that was due to the federal government, Zolman said.
To accommodate that payment, Grant County commissioners last month increased the warrant line to $3.6 million, said Cindy Carter, county commissioner.
On top of that, the county also lowered the interest rate on the warrants from 4.5 percent to 3.5 percent, Carter said. The county lowered the interest rate for the three hospitals that are carrying warrants with the county. Those hospitals also include the Mattawa Community Health Clinic and McKay Healthcare in Soap Lake.
In the past, the county also has encouraged the city of Quincy to take over some of that $3 million debt.
“We are still hoping that the city of Quincy will take part of that debt load,” Carter said on Tuesday.
In other hospital business, the board of commissioners decided last Wednesday not to offer a contract to potential CEO candidate John Ayoub. Ayoub visited the community last month; he was the only finalist for the open CEO position.
Zolman declined to say why the job was not offered to Ayoub.
Interim CEO Jerry Hawley, who has been with the hospital since December, has agree to stay in the position, Zolman said. Hawley is being paid $12,000 a month, the chairman said.
Zolman expects to pick up the search again for a permanent CEO after a plan is developed from the public survey. That could be this fall, he said.


— By Jill FitzSimmons,