Hospital planning for the future

by Richard Uhlhorn

Mary Murphy, board chair of the Hospital commission said she had been thinking a lot about change and is hopes that it takes care of itself. She added that she appreciates the work being put in by the executive branch, leadership teams and board. “I think we are making very good progress to make the organization work well,” said Murphy in her opening statement at Lake Chelan Health’s board meeting on Tuesday, October 26.


CFO Cheryl Cornwell reported that the hospital lost $472,577 in September. The hospital’s operating revenue was $1,535,424 for September. “The CARES funding will add several millions to the revenue,” said Cornwell. “We are still waiting on Medicare which will add another million to the bottom line. In the end, we are going to get paid what we get paid. It’s an odd time to do hospital accounting.”

She also asked the board to get out of the contract with Quorum. “It is costing us a lot of money,” she said. “It has been detrimental to us when it was supposed to be beneficial.”

Murphy said the hospital’s attorney would need to be involved in that. Cornwell replied that the contract is not good for the hospital. Jeremy Jaech stated that if the contract is costing the hospital money, it shouldn’t be a problem to opt out.


Signorelli reported that she has sought three property evaluations from three different real estate agencies on Heritage Heights. She has received two and expected a third on October 27. “I will send the valuations to the board.”

Heritage Heights has asked to extend its contract over the 25 years it has remaining. Signorelli recommended that the board consider turning the current lease into a lease to purchase which would put them into an ownership position. “At the end of the lease, the property would not revert back to us… they would own the property.” Signorelli added that a decision needs to be made of what would work best for the hospital and Heritage Heights. Jordana LaPorte reminded the board that the property was an asset to the District. “We need to do the right thing for the District,” she said.

Signorelli said the board would discuss what they want to do at the next board meeting in November.

Fred Miller reported that the new hospital is on budget and on time.

Agustin Venegas, marketing manager, has been working on the Hospital’s transition plan and told the board that the remodeling expense for the third floor (business offices) would be minimal. The Clinic and Express Clinic will reside on the second floor.

EMS and other operations will remain on the first floor,The board has retained the services of Kimberly McNalley, a board certified coach, who will help with board development.


McNalley told the board that she will  observe their meetings silently and is intending to plan on a board development session on November 17. “Where do we best spend out time together,” she asked. McNalley asked the members to give her a complete individual conflict profile by November 5. “We can then customize how to spend our time together.” McNalley is a highly respected coach with 22 years experience in the medical field. When they meet for a half-day development session, McNalley will be asking the board members for their perspective.

Shawn Ottley, the hospital’s quality director, reported that he is looking over changes that past CEO George Rohrich proposed for the hospital’s organizational chart. He stated that there were some challenges.

Cheryl Cornwell, the hospital’s CFO, told the board that they need to make Ottley the hospital’s COO. “We are in dire need of higher leadership doing the work that needs done,” she stated. “I don’t want to wait two months or even a month,” said Cornwell.

Murphy replied that the board needs to take more time and hold a special meeting on the subject. “It’s not something we can push down the road. We need to schedule some time and have the resource managers in the room.”

Mary Signorelli said she appreciates the initiative Ottley has taken in tackling the subject. “I appreciate your work.”

Ottley reported that he is putting the strategic plan in a form that is more strategic towards goals within department levels. “How are we going to get there. The leadership team will take the rest of November to polish the strategic plan. Ottley said he would send the board updates on the progress.

The board is putting together the pieces of a CEO transition plan and will be working closely with the Human Resources office. “I hope to meet in the next week or two,” said Murphy. She thanked the staff for weighing in on the process.

Signorelli remarked that she thought the new CEO should have experience in Critical Access Hospitals. “That will help us hone down the applicants.”

Regarding a recruitment flow chart, Murphy said it has been a challenge. “What is the procedure for hiring the best CEO,” she asked. “Finding a balance has been a challenge.”

The next full board meeting will be on November 30 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on ZOOM.

Author: allthingslakechelan

I have been a journalist, photojournalist and reporter in the Lake Chelan Valley since 1988; first with the Wenatchee World, then 15 years at the Lake Chelan Mirror and another 12 years at GoLakeChelan. Currently, I am semi-retired but can't give up the media gig which is why I started All Things Lake Chelan blog. I also have two social media platforms; allthingslakechelan/facebook and lakechelansportsandrecration/facebook. I am also a professional photographer with many credits with major outlets around the world.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: