MCDH Finance Committee March 26 2019

Finance Committee shares concerns & progress

The Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) Board of Directors Finance Committee meeting on March 26, 2019 was enlightening!  It is refreshing to see the elevated level of candor and interactive communications between staff, committee members and the many community members. It was disappointing that Finance Committee Member Steve Lund or other MCDH Board members did not attend either in person, telephone or video

While the hospital is still operating in the red, there are circumstances which show there are actually financial improvements being made. Chair John Redding began the meeting by expressing concern about the current characterizations that MCDH is on the brink of financial ruin, raising fears it may close.  Although there are certainly many financial issues to be remedied, he believes there is time to turn the red ink to black.

The financial updates, while still lagging behind on the bottom line, illustrate how long financial issues have been escalating.  It also illustrates how CFO Mike Ellis and his staff have made huge strides refining the processes and procedures which may be the link to solvency. 

Colene Hickman, hired by CFO Ellis last May, gave an in depth presentation on the vast revenue recovery procedures, processes and staff training which are resulting in deep dives into the root causes and solutions. Many of these long term financial problems date back to MCDH converting to being a Critical Access Hospital (CAH), during CEO Ray Hino’s regime, which did not modify it revenue recovery options to take full advantage of the CAH benefits.

Furthermore, there are high expectations that the completion of the Meditech software installation and training will finally allow for more efficient and accurate handling of the hospital’s complex financial systems.  It’s a long known fact that many of the financial problems are a result of computer and software systems, in different departments, which cannot communicate with each other. Also a tremendous amount of work impacting the revenue cycle has been done by hand, including some patient records, which is time consuming and rife with errors.

The last MCDH Finance Committee Meetings have been effective with vital information, exceedingly open and interactive with the many community members now attending.  Chair Redding presides with effective meeting facilitation skills and has obviously been communicating and listening to a wide range of feedback from both the community and staff.  While there are different factions of people with a variety of concerns regarding MCDH, watching the Finance Committee meetings may give you hope that this hospital will survive if effective leadership emerges.

Chair John Redding concluded the interactive and informative meeting by sharing his concerns in relation to the directions and professionalism of the newly elected MCDH Board of Directors. Several community members shared his views, which he said is a prelude to the MCDH Board of Directors meeting this Thursday, March 28 at 6:00 pm.  Mendocino TV will broadcast that meeting live, which will now be held in the MCDH registration lobby.

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