by Sharon Niederman
RATON — At the Sept. 18, 2020 Miners Colfax Medical Center board of trustees meeting, CEO Bo Beames announced that while the hospital’s professional staff hiring was going well, there was a need for hiring and retention of support staff. “People come and work for four days, then they disappear,” he said. There is also a need for another pediatric doctor on the staff, and recruitment is in process.
In addition to the anticipated arrival of family practice doctor Douglas Smith in the clinic, Dr. Ted Lee, who has several years of experience at MCMC, will be serving as “locum tenens,” that is, working various shifts as needed. Also, Dina Lewis will be joining the staff as hospitalist, bringing that aspect of clinical management to full coverage.
Beames also reported that surgeries were up and the hospital’s two “first class” surgeons, Dr. Angel Wright and Dr. Heather Cook, were busy. Obstetric deliveries were also up, as are ER admissions.
Two unrelated cases of COVID-19 presented in the ER and the illness is now identified in lab tests taking 45 minutes to one hour.
The board elected officers, keeping the current slate in position, including William “Cotton” Jarrell as chairman, Dr. Donald Belknap, Vice-Chair, and Shawn Jeffrey, Treasurer.
Denise Dawes, Chief Nursing Officer, announced a flu vaccine program, United Against the Flu, that aimed for a hundred percent vaccination of hospital staff with mid-November as target date of completion. Dr. Belknap speculated this flu season might see the illness tamped down due to mask wearing. While it is recommended that the general public receive flu shots from their family physicians, Dr. Belknap suggested those receiving the “super” dose aimed at people over 65 do it soon, as the supply could run out. Gene Sisneros mentioned the VA is running a flu shot clinic.
CFO Lonny Medina reported $11.9 million in funds was up $5 million from a year ago this time. This figure was explained by the inclusion of federal payments due to COVID-19 and PPE. “People are coming back into the hospital,” he said. The hospital is beginning its fisal year audit.
Regarding long term care, Beames said the dedicated visitor room in the facility, where residents may visit with families through a screen, is working well. He congratulated the long term care facility on its COVID-free status.
Charles Pollard, director of the black lung outreach program, announced plans for a virtual Miners’ Day program on December 3, 2020. The black lung program was re-funded for five years.
A $275,000 grant was received to improve community and behavioral health in NE New Mexico, with focus on Raton and Clayton.
The board also discussed ways of fine-tuning its client survey response.
The next meeting will be held Oct. 16, 2020 at 1 p.m., streaming on Facebook.