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St Charles Plans 10 million Improvements for Madras Hospital

first_img By Jeff Spry, CBN Feature Writer Google+ E-Headlines on February 21, 2013 Tumblr St. Charles Plans $10 million Improvements for Madras Hospital Share. 0center_img Facebook Twitter CEO Jeanie Gentry says the hospital needs immediate fixes that had been backlogged in the hopes of building a new hospital, including a new boiler, a new fire alarm system and new oxygen tanks at the hospital. Other changes will be needed as well, including an operating wing, an Imaging department and an emergency room.The ink had barely run dry on the deal transferring ownership of the old Mountain View Hospital to St. Charles Health System when CEO Jeanie Gentry knew she had a problem.  It was New Years Eve and an aging boiler had broken, leaving the hospital’s power on backup generators and space heaters to keep the patients warm.  The hospital’s wish list included a new electronic health record system, massive capital improvements and other repairs that would bring it into the 21st century.The next day, Mountain View Hospital would become St. Charles-Madras. Health care in Jefferson County would receive a much-needed capital boost, Gentry said.“There were so many things we had to do, but couldn’t afford to do on our own,” said Gentry, who had been at Mountain View’s helm since 2011.The hospital’s board of directors agreed with St. Charles to transfer its $13 million in assets along with $3 million in liabilities in exchange for a promise that the new owner will invest $10 million into the hospital over the next four years.“We had reached the point where it was not feasible to go it alone any more,” said Tom Kirsch, who had served on the hospital’s board of directors since 1979. “It was not feasible to raise taxes.”The debt crisis surfaced last year at a time of lower Medicare reimbursement payments from the state, Gentry said. Currently about 30 percent of the hospital’s patients qualify for Medicare, which covers low-income patients throughout the state.Meanwhile, the hospital needed immediate fixes that had been backlogged in the hopes of building a new hospital, including a new boiler, a new fire alarm system and new oxygen tanks at the hospital, Gentry said.Other changes will be needed as well, including an operating wing, an Imaging Department and an Emergency Room, she said.The 1967-built building also needs new heating, ventilation and cooling systems, part of the backlog of projects that the previous board of directors had been planning before the debt crisis hit in 2012, Gentry said.Under the terms of the agreement, St. Charles will be responsible for the following:Completing a building project of at least $10 millionAn electronic medical records system – St. Charles-Madras will be connected to the Paragon Hospital Information System, which will be rolled out at each of the four St. Charles owned and/or operated Central Oregon hospitals in August. The system will take the Madras hospital from a pen and paper-based patient records system to an electronic system that will cover areas including registration, billing, supply tracking and patient records.Continue to employ all 240 Mountain View Hospital employees, assuming they meet basic criteria for the job. Keep at least the same level of services that Mountain View had previously, including surgical and obstetrics units. Mountain View had delivered 200 babies the previous year. Include at least one Jefferson County resident on the St. Charles board of directors. The Mountain View board of directors, and the special tax district that funds its operations, will remain intact as long as it takes for St. Charles to implement that changes, according to Gentry and Kirsch.The change in ownership represents the end of an era for Mountain View Hospital and the improvement of healthcare in Jefferson County, said Mike Ahern, county commissioner.“I think it’s uncomfortable for the local people because it’s change,” Ahern said. “We lose some control and now we’re part of a big corporation. Under the old model we were having trouble. We needed this. It’s how it has to be.” Pinterest Email LinkedInlast_img

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