by Richard Uhlhorn
With Phyliss Gleasman’s resignation from the hospital board leaving a big hole in the chairmanship, the board elected Vice-Chair Mary Murphy to take over the lead seat on the board with Jordana LaPorte becoming the Vice-Chair.
In accepting the position, Murphy thanked Gleasman publicly for her five years on the board; two of them as the Chairperson. “She has been an inspiration for me and I thank her for working with me,” said Murphy. “We’ve had so many unusual challenges in 2020 and 2021 will also throw some things at us.” Murphy thanked the board for their confidence in her. “I will do my best.”
With Gleasman’s resignation, the board will seek to fill the vacant seat with a person that can bring a skill set to the board. Commissioner Mary Signorelli said that the list of qualifications being sought would turn off potential board members from being to concise. “I doubt that any of us would qualify for what we are asking of a new board member,” said Signorelli.
Murphy replied that the list of qualifications were not requirements but were only listed as preferences that would help the board do its work. Signorelli shot back and said that, “Something like this will turn off potential board members. For all practical purposes, this is a volunteer position. I don’t want to exclude a whole group of people or intimidate them!”
Jordana LaPorte added that the community is small and everyone knows everyone. “I hope that a new board member will bring something to the table we don’t have.” She added that it is a very complex business with a huge learning curve.
CEO George Rohrich added that it is an excellent opportunity for the equity policy to be implemented. “Maybe a young man or a minority person would be welcome. We should hire for attitude and train for skills,” said Rohrich.
Signorelli replied that a minority would be most welcome. “We need people to apply. We need to advertise this more than we are,” she said. Fred Miller stated that the only real requirement to apply for a board position is to be a registered voter. Murphy stated that it is all about serving the community.
The board will continue to conduct business as usual despite having a potential tie vote on issues. Signorelli wanted the board to wait until a new board member was on board before conducting board business. LaPorte stated that the board still has to conduct business. The decision was made to move forward with Signorelli abstaining.
It was reported that the hospital can receive another $2 million from the Payroll Protection Funding (federal). The suggestion from staff was to take the money and sit on it because the hospital doesn’t know how much will have to be returned. “Hopefully we can apply it to our losses if we get to keep it.” Murphy said, “It is good to have a safety net.”
CFO Cheryl Cornwell reported that financially February was not pretty. “We are not making as much money as we budgeted,’ she said. “Our net operating loss was $327,613.” She added that the hospital has $4 million sitting in the bank and is hoping they can keep a large portion of those funds. “It would help us with the losses. Revenue is the problem.”
Rohrich said that the Clinic is now open 9-6 everyday and that it only takes a walk-in 10 to 15 minutes to see a provider. LaPorte said she drove by on Sunday and the clinic looked closed. “It doesn’t look open. We need to get the word out.”
According to the Facilities Committee, the construction bids will be opened in early April. Murphy said in a separate phone call that the opening of the bids will be public and the community is invited to sit in on the ZOOM meeting on April 5.
The commission approved a six month leave of absence for Dr. Bradley who is going to West Africa to work.