Mid-Year Update from Bill Patten

Happy summer – It hardly seems possible that the days are already getting shorter! With the rain we have been getting this year the sage is greener and the weeds are higher – I hope you take some time to get out and enjoy this special place we call home!

I want to give you a couple of different updates…

Our plan for the mill levy

As I shared at the recent All Staff meetings, we are actively working to identify 3-5 community partners that will join us in our campaign for additional mill levy funding. The group of potential community partners that has been meeting has narrowed the needs list to the following topics (in prioritized order):

  1. A detox service (medical and/or social)
  2. Mental health/behavioral health treatment
  3. Residential treatment
  4. Homeless issues (shelters, food, clothing)
  5. A healthcare and/or lifestyle case manager/coach (community health worker)

We plan a couple more meetings before the end of July. The current timeline is to have the potential list of services/potential partners developed by the July Board meeting. During the month of August we will develop our message/campaign with the goal of being ready to make a presentation to the County Commissioners early in September.

The partnering approach we are pursuing will allow ~$900,000 each year to be devoted to 3-5 important services with another ~$4,200,000 going to Holy Cross each year. The current plan for this money is that ~$1,500,000 will be used for capital equipment and/or building maintenance, ~$1,500,000 will be used for operations, and ~$1,000,000 will be put into savings.

Employee compensation

In 2016 we did a major reset of our compensation. We had not given raises and were behind the market. The net result of this reset added about $1,000,000 to our salary expense. Since 2016 we have given raises, but because of our weak financial position, the raises have been lower than we would have liked. As a result, in just another year or two I think we will again be behind the market. The $1,500,000 of mill levy money that will be designated for operations will allow us to have the money to make sure our wages are current with the market. Understanding that the specifics of any wage increase program will need to be negotiated with our union, I want everyone to understand that our plan with this increased mill levy funding is to assure that we have adequate resources to make sure that we can give appropriate raises in the coming years.

Heating system repairs

We have turned the heating system back on and, as expected, have found a couple of new leaks. We are waiting a few weeks to make sure no other leaks are found before we decide if we need to drain the system again. Once that decision is made we will schedule to have the pipes reinsulated and will then get the drywall repaired. OR #3 is being painted and should be back in service soon. I appreciate everyone’s patience as we have worked through this difficult maintenance project.

Vacuum system upgrades

We have completed the upgrade of our medical vacuum system. In addition to installing two brand new 10-horse power vacuum pumps, we have purchased a third pump to have as a spare. The pump will not degrade in storage and will assure that we can quickly replace a failed pump.

Our cash position is improving!

Our days in accounts receivable and accounts payable are both coming down; by the end of August both should be very close to our desired level. We are now measuring day’s cash in the 20’s rather than the single digits from just a few months ago. We still have work to do and the added money we will be able to save from the enhanced mill levy funding (this is just one of the reasons that it is SO important that the mill levy measure pass when it goes to ballot) will help our days cash continue to grow while at the same time we can stay current with wage increases and invest in our needed medical equipment.

Our care teams continue to do a great job and the departments that support the caregivers are also stepping up and making great contributions! We have had very busy summer holidays (Memorial Day and July 4th) but our team always seems to find a way to provide our patients with the exceptional care they deserve!

Thank you for all you do and have a great summer!

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