Lillian M. Hudspeth Hospital
Lillian M. Hudspeth Hospital

A small group of people looked on Monday, November 19, 2018, as the Sutton County Hospital Board approved the 2019 FY Budget despite uncertainty of some board members.

All board members, with the exception of Don Longoria, were present. Longoria was absent. Hospital administrators Mickey Schaefer, CFO and Board Secretary, Roger Massey, Interim CEO and Consultant Lance Keilers, Connected Healthcare Solutions, LLC, were present. Katie Anderson, an attorney for the SCHD Board, also listened in on the meeting via audio conference.

Board President Mark Edwards verbalized the recognition of an established quorum and confirmed with Board Secretary Mickey Schaefer that the meeting was duly called and notice was posted prior to the meeting in accordance with the requirements.

As he moved to call for the public hearing for the 2018 proposed budget set to be held prior to the regular meeting, Board Member Mary Humphrey requested to move public hearing to follow item 9 on the agenda to allow the board to first take care of usual consent agenda items.

Edwards agreed and called to move the public hearing to follow regular meeting business as requested by Humphrey.

He called for discussion or comments regarding the minutes of the September 10, September 18 and October 2 meetings as well as the financial reports ending August 31 and September 30.

Board Member Edward Earwood asked if he could move to approve the minutes of all three meetings with one motion.

Board Member Adelita Alvarez spoke up and asked for clarification of the minutes of the September 10 meeting. Specifically, she inquired about a paragraph that included information regarding Keith Butler as Interim Administrator. A motion to amend an original motion was made by Alvarez and seconded by Humphrey to include that Keith Butler will not be brought to SCHD as an interim administrator. All members voted in favor.

Alvarez contended the paragraph wording was confusing because it also included information relating to another agenda item regarding insurance benefits for district

Alvarez asked if it could be corrected to remove doubt and add clarity.

Edwards said he did not see any confusion and attempted to show reason. Board Member John Henry Strauch agreed that there was no need to correct the wording and the minutes should be approved as is.

Edwards called for a motion to approve the minutes. Earwood made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 10, September 18 and October 2 meetings as presented.

Board member Noemi Samaniego seconded and the motion passed and board members turned their attention to the financial reports.
Schaefer gave an overview and noted that the operating revenue is up.

As for expenses, she commented specifically on a few areas including but not limited to nursing salaries, ER supplies, Administrative costs, and the Sonora Clinic.

The board approved the financial reports ending August 31, 2018 and September 20, 2018 and the September 2018 and October 2018 expenditures as presented.

Then, Edwards turned over the meeting to Interim CEO Roger Massey to talk about the 2019 fiscal year budget and called to open the public hearing portion of the meeting.

Although a copy of the proposed budget was not made available to the public for review prior to the public hearing, Massey pointed out the highlights as he deemed important for the public awareness.

He noted the need for the administration to have more control over future departmental expenses including the hiring of employees.
“We need a better internal control within the approval process for any vacancies that do occur,” Massey said. “So we’re basically going to say that department directors have to reach out us to fill positions if a position turns over, and before we authorize just automatically the replacement. We’re going to see if there’s opportunity to do some consolidation of positions or other efficiencies that might lead us to be able to hold off filing the position or otherwise fill it with someone less than a full timer.”

In addition, Massey said, they will use attrition.

Further, Massey said he anticipates subsequent discussion during the December board meeting regarding additional organizational restructuring as well as an analysis of salaries and recommended changes all to help maintain the budget.

Earwood asked if the board could wait until the December meeting to vote on the budget since they are already anticipating changes to the budget.

Keilers spoke up and insisted that the board should approve the budget immediately and then make changes in the future if necessary.

Humphrey asked to table the proposed budget approval to allow more time for trustees to review it.

Edwards insisted on the need to approve the proposed budget without delay. Further, he said he spoke with legal counsel prior to the meeting and there was no need to delay approval.

Board Members received the proposed budget just three days prior to the meeting, Friday, November 16.

Moving on, Edwards called for visitor comments.

Carl Teaff, one of seven people present, commented on not having the opportunity to review the proposed budget prior to the meeting. He said he didn’t have any questions at that time, but he may have questions after having time to review it. He also thanked the board for their work.

Keilers said budget predictions are contingent upon the future financial impact of Doctor Will Griffin who began working for the district last July.

Teaff also commented on the consequences of under advertising special programs and services provided by the district such as Hospice.

Earwood agreed with Teaff’s comment and the need to market available services.

Massey said word of mouth is most beneficial in marketing programs like Hospice.

Sharon Hollman also commented on the need to market. Again, Keilers insisted that the current marketing efforts are satisfactory.

Hearing comments from Hospice Director Lynn Burchell, Edwards asked for a motion to approve the proposed budget as presented.

Again, Humphrey requested that the budget be tabled, but Edwards insisted on the need to approve it.

Earwood said while he still has concerns, he understands that the budget may be amended in the future if needed and made a motion to approve the budget as proposed. Strauch seconded the motion and the budget passed.

Edwards closed the public hearing and turned the attention back to the agenda.

Next, Edwards briefed board members on the Quarterly Medical Staff Report. Edwards attended the quarterly meeting.

Then, trustees heard from Keilers on beginning the search for a permanent Administrator/CEO.

He suggested that Earwood and Edwards sit on search committee to assist him in the search for a permanent CEO. However, the final decision to hire requires full board approval, said Keilers. The position will be posted for 30-days.

The board approved the search committee.

Next, board members approved a motion by Earwood to begin the search for a permanent Administrator/CEO. The motion included an initial annual salary range between $ 140,000 and $165,000 and applicants must have at least 3 to 5 years in hospital administration, 3 to 5 years in Rural, Critical Access Hospital experience and a Master’s Degree.

Two items, Avera E-Care and the district’s PTO policy, were tabled to be discussed at a later time.

In addition to other business, the board discussed and designated Massey, Interim CEO, as the current information officer for the district. All requests for information should be sent to Massey.

In other business, board members discussed the district’s revenue cycle, coding audits and approved the district’s Charity Care Policy, the Policy and Procedure Manual for Sonora Medical Clinic and LMH Nursing Department. They also approved to allow for the sale of property held in trust by the City of Sonora due to delinquent taxes.

Finally, the board approved Eagle Radiology, Specialist on Call Neurology first year provisional appointments, Southwest Medical 2-year provisional appointments, Specialty Clinic Physicians, Requesting Associate Reappointment and resignations as recommended.


With no further business or discussion the meeting was adjourned.

Mark Edwards presided over the meeting. Edward Earwood. John Henry Strauch, Noemi Samaniego, Adelita Alvarez and Mary Humphrey were present. Don Longoria was absent.

The next regular meeting of the Sutton County Hospital District Board of Directors is set for Monday, December 10, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. at the LMH Wellness Center Multi-purpose room.