Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Tue, Oct. 27

CODE BLUE<br>As hospital flatlines financially, community gathers to rally support

Winslow citizens listen to the Hospital Administrator cite reasons for the financial problems.

One way is that the hospital staff has been reduced by 10 full-time employees. She added that each department has also begun doing efficiency surveys that monitor the departments’ performances.

She also cited bringing in two new doctors, a surgeon and a family practitioner, to provide more services and bring in more customers. Warboys added the hospital is also in the process of recruiting another physician, a process which costs about $25,000.

She added the hospital has also stopped paying back-up physicians in the emergency room. The physicians were paid to oversee physician’s assistants. This is no longer being done.

Another step taken to save money was the stopping of exchanging money taken out of paychecks for supplies, like scrubs, for the staff. Warboys said the hospital was being charged full price at the time of ordering supplies from their vendors, but the payment was being drawn out over several paychecks to help the staff. This practice is no longer taking place. The hospital has also stopped selling supplies to outside care giving agencies.

Warboys also reported the hospital has increased the salaries for professional staff members in order to keep them here in Winslow. She said the salaries were comparable to Flagstaff.

She reminded the citizens present about the Win Win Cards, which raise money to provided nursing scholarships and possible radiology technician scholarships in the future. The recipients are required to work at WMH for a minimum of two years after being certified. This helps the hospital fill their staff and not need registry employees.

Warboys also mentioned the hospital has implemented a double-check system in the billing and admitting departments.

She added the hospital was reevaluating the employee benefits. In the last fiscal year, the hospital has paid over $700,000 per year for their employee benefits. Warboys stated that the hospital would be sending out requests for proposals to insurance companies to see if they can find a policy that keeps the same coverage but reduces their payment.

After Warboys had finished delivering her information, the floor was opened up for questions from the citizens.

To the question of who called the meeting, board member McHood responded that he “thought the hospital had turned a corner.” He explained they were doing a lot better financi ally than three months ago. He added that the hospital was not closing.

Board member Payne said he wasn’t sure who called the meeting, but the board was in the process of talking about discussing the issues with the community and felt compelled to be present for the meeting.

Bill Herron, Coordinator for Weed and Seed, then took the floor to state he had called the meeting after speaking to other agencies about the “talk” floating around town. He stated that he had heard some people say the community didn’t care about the hospital; he then pointed put the number of citizens present. “I hope this turnout proves that we do care.”

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