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CCMSD shares progress throughout district

The Sundance Times of Sundance, Wyoming

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At its regular meeting last week, the Crook County Medical Services District Board of Trustees shared updates on the progress being made throughout the district. Among the new services and features that are either planned or underway are new EKG machines, a new electronic medical records system and completion of the project to replace all windows throughout the hospital.

At the time of the meeting, 51 of the 79 new windows had been installed throughout the hospital and the new doors are scheduled for installation during first week of November. Construction is not having too much of a negative effect on residents, said Interim CEO Bob Brummond, as it is being done in blocks to enable every part of the process for one window to be completed in a day.

The only issue will be the lab, he said, because the equipment cannot be moved and must be covered and put out of use while the windows are installed. Overall, however, the project has already made a huge difference to the light in the rooms, said Brummond, and Ainsworth Benning have been great contractors to work with.

The district is also in the process of migrating its electronic medical records system to Athena to solve the problems it faces with its current system. The billing and revenue aspects are expected to go live on January 1 and the affected staff are making plans to roll the software out quickly and seamlessly.

Health Management Services, the management company now partnered with the district, have visited the Athena headquarters to see first hand what the company can offer and create a working relationship.

The district is hopeful that it will soon receive a Helmsley Grant when the recipients are announced on November 5. If successful, the district will schedule architects and engineers to look at a portion of the building and determine what will be required to remodel it. The end result would be a new imaging diagnostic suite for the hospital, options for which will be brought to the board if the grant is indeed awarded.

Work is underway to fix issues with the Moorcroft clinic building, with maintenance now sure that the foundation wall is not shifting. The gap has been caulked and the current plan is to pour a cement-like substance through drilled holes to level the floor.

Meanwhile, the issues with the air flow system have been solved by cleaning it out and the board requested that the engineers take a look at the building overall when they visit to look at the proposed imaging diagnostic suite.

The district has also hired a new nurse practitioner by the name of Deb Leah, who will join the Moorcroft Clinic to provide almost full coverage, said Brummond.

The district is no longer actively hiring, continued Brummond, explaining that the clinics and hospital are now well staffed and Doctor Larsen has taken on the medical director role in everything from the emergency room to long term care.

New Hulett Clinic

In conjunction with the Town of Hulett, the district is submitting a grant application for a feasibility study to look into the possibility of constructing a new clinic. According to Joe Rude of Health Management Services, representatives from the district met with the town council last week along with Dave Spencer of the Wyoming Business Council.

The town has land that it is willing to donate to the project, Rude explained at the regular meeting of the Board of Trustees last week. The Hospital Foundation will contribute to the match for the feasibility study.

"The way it will be funded is that Hulett would receive the grant for planning, they would receive the grant for construction and when the clinic is built, it will belong to the town," said Rude.

"They, in turn, will lease it to us, theoretically for a dollar."

The feasibility grant will result in detailed information that will also belong to the town, but that the district will be provided access to, said Rude. It will not only look at demand and performance, but also what can be done to make the clinic perform better.

This, Rude said, will then allow the board and town to pursue possible funding options for the clinic, such as direct fundraisers and community economic development grants from the state.

Marsha Erickson told the board that an issue has been identified with the hospital's EKG machines, which are now effectively obsolete. It has become impossible to find a repairman when they need to be fixed, she said.

A company has been located that refurbishes EKG machines and sells them for a third of the price of purchasing a new one. Erickson requested that the board consider buying three: one for each town.

The price, said Brummond, would be $17-18,000 and this would include framing. He told the board that there is money available in the capital budget thanks to other projects coming in under their projected cost.

"If you don't have an EKG machine, you might as well decide to send everyone elsewhere," he commented.

The board approved purchase of the three machines.

Brummond also addressed the board regarding the flooring in the hospital, which is now 17 years old and is patchy, dirty and coming up in places, which poses a risk for people walking on it. He suggested vinyl flooring as it is long-lasting and easy to keep clean.

The board directed Brummond to keep looking into it, with Trustee Judy Hutchinson commenting that this might be a good time to consider fundraising. Neiman added that it may be possible to use leftover windows from the refurbishment project to create stained glass decorative windows, which could then be sold to raise funds.

In the near future, the district may also look into Neiman's suggestions to create Title 25 rooms within the Sundance clinic and take part in the 340B Drug Discount Program for the benefit of the hospital and its patients alike, as well as to investigate the suggestion of a Billing's dental clinic to create a satellite location in one of the clinics.

"Our goal is to bring more services to the community," commented Rude.

A member of the audience questioned whether the board will still be performing a top-to-bottom review of how the district is run. Trustee Connie Lindmier explained that HMS will be able to help with training and improvements and the review has been placed on hold until it is determined whether it will be necessary, rather than spend the $45,000 and discover it is not.

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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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