Aaron Edwards, CEO
The votes are counted and election finalized and we came up 47 votes short. On behalf of the Board and all the staff at Ferry County Public Hospital District I would like to thank those that voted! Sure, we are disappointed the levy didn’t pass but are also proud of how close we came and truly appreciate your support. The majority of you voted yes. That means a lot to us given how scarce resources are at this time in Ferry County. We understand the levy was a big ask for many of you. So thank you!
Where are we at?
Several of you have raised the question what is next for us and worry if we will be able to remain open? The short answer is YES, we will remain open serving our county. At this time we are not in danger of closing our doors. Through July our net income was roughly $680K which is better than past years even with a slow start to the year. Though we have a surplus thus far this year, we still have an inappropriately high amount of debt (a total of $5.34M). This debt stems from the 2005 Clinic and ALF (Klondike Hills) construction project and secondarily from the 2014 heating system installation (roughly $4M Clinic/ALF and $1M Heating System). So far this year we have paid down about $125,000 in principle.
Beyond getting debt under control we have significant financial needs upcoming where we will need to spend that surplus. For example our ultrasound machine in the clinic will need to be replaced next year ($100K), our cardiac monitors in the hospital ($100K), and our CT machine is due to be replaced in 2022 ($500K+). Those are just a few things that must be vigilantly kept up to date (to say nothing of our building and parking lot among other things). Our debt makes us very vulnerable in leaner financial years. To insure we have meaningful medical services in our community it is important to get this debt under control which will be pretty difficult if not impossible to do with our income when looking at historic revenue numbers even in the best of times.
Operationally we will continue to work to add and improve services. I am proud to say that in August we began offering ultrasound guided injections to treat pain at a higher level than ever before. The month prior we began Hepatitis C treatment. On September 25th we will begin offering prenatal care up to 26 weeks and the ability to do colposcopies (a first in a very long time)! We will also have the return of colonoscopies and upper gastrointestinal endoscopies very soon (likely before the year is up). On top of that we will are close to an agreement with an orthopedic surgery group to offer a few clinic days a month again. Recently, at the fair, we offered free blood pressure checks and lipid panel coupons. We continue to improve our stroke and chest pain protocols in the emergency room. We are working on making our physical therapists available to patients in the emergency room. Across the District we are making progress towards reduction in opioid use. Our clinic is making diabetic care an emphasis as well. I am extremely proud of both our ED/Hospital clinicians and Republic Medical Clinic providers (among others) who have been working hard to make this happen. Our goal is for our community to be proud of our District and be your first choice for medical care!
Will we come to the voters again to ask for help?
As explained above we need to get that debt paid down which will be very slow and hard to do with our current revenue. We will likely consider another try next year but we want to hear from the voters first. These past few months we had several public meetings to get the word out beyond our monthly Board meetings. We will likely start that process a little earlier when and if we come to the voters again (more to come on that). We encourage anyone with concerns or questions to come to our monthly Board meetings or call one of our executive team members (Aaron Edwards, CEO; Brant Truman COO/CFO; Cherie Hanning, CNO; JoAnn Ehlers, Clinic Manager; Nina Novikoff, HR Director). Also, all of our Board minutes and financial statements can be found on our website, http://www.fcphd.org. We would love to hear from you!
As always, thank you for supporting your Hospital District! We are dedicated to our mission “To strengthen the health and well-being of our community through partnership and trust”. We can’t do it without you!
Aaron C. Edwards, MHPA