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Posted on Mar 11, 2019

Hospital leaders upbeat about relicensing survey

Among the first topics discussed at the Feb. 25 meeting of the board of commissioners of the Grant County Public Hospital District No. 2 was an inspection by the Washington Department of Health at Quincy Valley Medical Center.
Board president Randy Zolman told the staff it did well with the DOH inspection. The DOH visit was part of a normal relicensing survey, a process that happens every three years, Bishop explained later.
“It was a very good process,” CEO Glenda Bishop told the board, and, adding praise for the QVMC staff, said, “and I am very thankful for this team and the work that they do.”
Commissioner Anthony Gonzalez was absent from the meeting.
Two guests attended the meeting – architects, Keith Null and Grant Faust, of CollinsWoerman. The Port of Quincy is paying for the architectural firm to visit and assess QVMC’s buildings. They thanked the staff for helping them gather information during their on-site visit, and Null added that the upkeep of the aging QVMC facility is exceptional. The architects’ report is expected at the end of March.
Later in the meeting, the commissioners gave extensive time to discussion of two agenda items, both with five-figure price tags.
Tom Richardson, QVMC’s director of information systems, spoke about VersaBadge, a system that uses technology to measure and document the standby hours of emergency department physicians, information that is used to calculate Medicare reimbursements to QVMC.
Discussion among the board and staff on the VersaBadge system characterized it as a long-term investment, one that will not pay back in the first year but was expected to improve the Medicare reimbursements. Documents in the agenda stated costs of $10,000 for installation and $3,000 per month.
Richardson gave a summary of the purchase decision: “I see it as we do it now, or we do it later.”
There were some unknowns making the board’s decision difficult. Rod Shrader, the QVMC controller, wanted it on the agenda so that, if approved by the board, payback on the investment could start sooner.
Zolman set the agenda item aside temporarily, until after the next item was discussed. But then, returning to the VersaBadge system, the board quickly decided to table it.
The second purchase proposal before the board was also given explanation by Richardson, stating it was more of an expense and an easier choice: whether to contract with Darktrace, a cyber-security company, to improve QVMC’s network security.
“This is modern security,” he said.
Documents in the meeting agenda stated the cost as $30,000 a year. A demonstration of the system has been in place at QVMC for three months.
Zolman said using Darktrace would be cheaper than employing someone to monitor the network for security.
Commissioner Don Condit made a motion to move the previous question, which would end the discussion and bring the matter to a vote. Condit’s motion was voted on and approved. Then Zolman asked if there were a motion on the Darktrace item, and Commissioner Robert Poindexter moved to approve the purchase. He and Condit voted in favor; Commissioner Michele Talley voted against. Zolman did not vote.
Among the other agenda items before the board:
• Kelly Robison, QVMC quality director, gave her report, supplying details of a survey of patients. One highlight of the patient survey was that 93 percent of respondents said that their care was great.
• Reporting on finances, Zolman said QVMC ended January about $20,000 in the red and that the month’s financial result compares favorably with the $96,000 in the red in January last year.
• Surplus property, a washing unit that is broken, was approved for disposal.

By Dave Burgess,