By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Discussion on financial accounts and medical updates at Mercy board meeting


Questions about cash on hand and investments were asked by Silver Township representative Sue Pederson at the monthly meeting of the Mercy Hospital Board of Directors on Monday, March 25.

The new CEO, Mike Youso, was in attendance to observe. He began his duties on April 2.

Pederson said that the investment portfolio and audit numbers did not match.

“I’m sure that they do, you just don’t see it,” replied board member Joann Collier.

Pederson also said that there was a difference in the amount of cash on hand.

“The difference between 147 days of cash on hand down to 122.5 days is almost $5 million,” she said. “I’m not going to lie and I’m not going to put up with lying. You tell these people that you are going to get 150 days of cash on hand for three years in a row before you will stop the levy. I’m amazed that you can do this to your neighbors.”

Board Member Tim Zwickey disagreed.

Collier said that the discussion at the board meeting wasn’t going to get them anywhere.

“We need to bring this to a meeting of a different sort, that’s for sure,” she said.

Pederson said that Silver Township wants to detach from the hospital district.

The presiding chair of the board that day was Gail Langhorst in the absence of Chair Kelly Goeb. She said that the questions needed to be directed to the Finance Committee.

“We are policy people, not micromanagers,” she told Pederson. “The township’s request for detachment needs to come from the township. Then we will go through the proper channels.”

Donita Korpela gave a report about the Patient Safety Week beginning March 11.

For medications, like opioids, the hospital is at 90 percent, compared to the state average of 67 percent. The hospital is doing well, she said.

However, the report about falls needs improvement.

“There were a high number of falls this year,” she reported. “We are trying to figure out why those are going up rather than down. We are tying falls and delirium together. We are working with therapy to get better processes.”

Korpela went on to say that volunteers are going to become more involved and sit with the patients in a one-on-one situation, where needed.

“A lot of the falls are delirium falls,” she said. “We are using our own resources and equipment. We are making sure that every employee gets trained in how to handle patients.”

The report also addressed pressure injuries.

“We are continuing to work on those,” said Korpela.

The hospital was tied with the state at 85 percent for surgery. Specimen handling, infection prevention, urinary tract infections, central line infections and hand hygiene are tracked.

“There was a lot of focus on sepsis this year,” she said. “There is also a focus on discharge teach-backs. We are making sure that we are giving transitions of care back to the patients.”

Sonya Towle, the Director of Human Resources, spoke about the Employee Wellness Program.

“Fifty-one employees are enrolled in the wellness program,” she said. “For March in March, the employees try to reach goals of a certain number of steps. The majority of people are walking 10,000 steps a day. The steps are tracked electronically with a Fitbit or an inexpensive pedometer that we give them. The program goes through April 19.”

Towle added that the program addresses the physical and the emotional well-being of the employees.

“We wanted people to be active and stay healthy,” she said. “Emotionally, when you exercise, you get all the endorphins. “

Towle also said that the committee is made up of representatives from rehabilitation, administration, human services, the education department, infection control, the ambulance department, and the Mercy Foundation. The dietician is also on the committee.

Other health issues addressed were mental health, annual physicals, the hydration challenge and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

It was reported that the 501(C)(3) committee is still in the process of being set up. The by-laws are being written, said Langhorst. The former CEO, Mike Delfs, had worked on setting up the board but the process was delayed because of his resignation and departure, she added.

The May meeting of the Mercy Board of Directors was changed to Wednesday, May 29, due to Memorial Day on the normal meeting day.


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