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Westlake Regional Hospital reports profitable April

In this article:
  • WRH is in the black for April, a giant milestone in recovery
  • Affiliation with Norton's is on fasttrack; co-branding underway
  • Mr. Gold, Board acknowledge thanks to Lee Stephens, Jeremy Hancock, and the Adair County CJE and Road Department for volunteer lawn and landscape services
  • Inspection of WRH for Swing Bed Status could come as early as late June
  • Outpatient Drug Counseling program may be added
  • Physical Therapy department shows dramatic increase; staff expanding to meet added demand for services
  • WRH moving to digital radiology
  • Respiratory Therapy moves under direction of Chief Nursing Officer
  • Neal Gold says board, administrative staff, department heads still find unnecesary costs to cut


Report from information, interview with Mr. Neal Gold

Westlake Regional Hospital's Neal Gold, the Board of Trustees liason providing CEO functions for the hospital, reports that the organization operated in the black in April, 2013.

"We've made current operations work," he said. "We aren't out of the woods yet," he said, "but we are proving that the system can operate profitably."

There was mostly good news which came out of the regular board meeting last night, Tuesday, May 28, 2013, particularly with the affiliation with Norton Healthcare, the state's largest health provider.


The hospital is already working with the Norton's public relations team on co-branded ads, co-branded logo treatment, exterior signage, affiliate web pages on the NortonHealthCare.com website, and branding of nuclear medicine facility as part of the Norton Heart Institute.

Gold said that Westlake will be sending sample patient charts of coding audits, which will help WRH with billing and will result and receiving payments more promptly.

WRH representatives have met with the Norton's architecture/interior design team, which is planning a site visit to recommend color palates, flooring colors, and other aesthetic changes to the hospital and ancillary units.

Norton's is already working with Westlake Human Resources on policies and procedures. This will help Westlake avoid preventable pitfalls in employee relations.

Gold said that requirements for Continuing Education will be enhanced through the affiliation. "We've received Norton's CEU catalogue and are reviewing them now."

Already, he said, Westlake is discussing additional specialties which the affiliation might make available in Columbia.

Jodie Janes of Westlake is in her four week of training with Norton's in CVA.

Volunteers help with mowing

Mr. Gold said that the community response to a call for volunteers to help with mowing had been very encouraging. He said that Lee Stephens, CEO of MLS2, one of the major mowing firms in the entire state, had provided mowing services on the large fields at the main hospital campus, and Jeremy Hancock had done the same for Westlake Primary Care.

Judge Ann Melton and the Adair County Road Department dispatched the county road department to help with a backhoe to correct some problems in the landscaping around the hospital. He said that he and the rest of the board found that a signal of very deep felt support for Westlake.

Swing Bed application is making progress

Mr. Gold said that Westlake's application for swing bed status is actually making progress. He has been in touch with the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in the Kentucky Health Department and based on those contacts, and preparations made because of them, the WRH hopes to notify the OIG within a week that the hospital is ready to be inspected, hopefully within 30 days.

Outpatient Drug Counseling program may be added

Mr. Gold said that Westlake is exploring the possibility of adding a drug counseling program, a service with high demand in the area, and one which fits nicely with Westlake's reputation for high quality behavioral health services. He also said that Westlake is continuing to work with Behavioral Health and Psychiatric Resource Partners, who operate the Behavioral Unit, to fully integrate BH:BRP into the Westlake organization, particularly with regard to nursing.

Physical Therapy Department shows dramatic increase

The hospital reports that outpatient physical therapy is up by 44% since January of this year. Michele Yates has been hired as administrative assistant, which will save $7 per hour vs. the use of an LPN to do insurance pre-certifications. The department has also hired Amy Irvin as a part time Physical Therapist Assistant in order to increase capacity. She will move to full time status in July whe she passes her licensing test.

Respiratory Therapy now answers to Chief Nursing Officer
Respiratory Therapy has been moved back under the direction of the Chief Nursing Officer. Gold said that this is consistent with other hospitals' organizational structure, and will help with management of staffing levels.

Upgrades may come to radiology

The Hospital is discussing with several vendors the possibility of converting radiology to digital technology.

Sleep studies program moving ahead

Westlake's plan to add Sleep Studies to its regular services is moving ahead, Mr. Gold said. In service training for the program is sheduled for the Medical Staff on June 19, 2013.

Cost cutting continues

The current board, including Chairman Craig Pyles, along with Richard Grant, Neal Gold, Brad Keltner, and Bruce White, has made tremendous strides by cutting expenses. "But there is still a lot more we can do," Mr. Gold said. One area receiving attention is overtime. Mr. Gold said that will be managed much more tightly, with an aim of having no more than 50 overtime hours per pay period.

Better management of receivables

Westlake's is working on detailed analysis of receivables. Charges are not dropping out of the system to billers. Mr. Gold said that the problem point has been located through audit reports and the hospital billing department will be taking steps to to correct the problem.

In a related matter, he said that Nicole Bell has resigned as Business Office Manager and that the postion will be posted shortly.



This story was posted on 2013-05-29 17:08:49
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