Hospital still struggling financially

Cimarron Memorial Hospital 's board met on Nov. 30, with financial officers of Clayton New Mexico's Farmers & Stockmans Bank, to discuss the possibility of a loan restructure. The Cimarron county commissioners were also in attendance.

Larry Fluhman and Mark Funk, met with the board, and listened as Chief Executive Officer Patsy Shields and Board Member Dwilene Holbert explained the need for a restructure in an effort to catch up on payroll.

Holbert explained that in 2004, when the payroll was “met”, several things hadn't been included, such as the employee's health insurance, worker's comp, retirement and etc. “So when it came time for Rod,(former CEO Rod Burrus), to pay those things we fell behind on payroll again,” Holbert said. “We are at the same place we were in 2004, it's exasperating,” Holbert said.

“We are very fortunate to have the employees we have,” Holbert added.

‘Frankly we are a little concerned,” Fluhman said. “We knew this [the previous loan] wasn't going to work overnight. We are here to help, and we hope to come up with a solution,” he added.

Fluhman then explained that five years ago, the Union County Hospital in Clayton had been in a similar situation, and that with financial help from the bank, and some managerial changes, the situation had been reversed.

Fluhman made note of the “revolving door problem” in the CEO's office, and asked if the problem had been solved. The board replied that they felt, with the hiring of Shields, the right fit had been found.

Then a collective groan rose from the board and observers when Fluhman advised the need for a consulting company.

Holbert and Board Chairman Frank Lynch told Fluhman that past experiences with Castlerock and Cypress had left a bad taste in the community's mouth.

Fluhman told the board that he had been alarmed by the financials he'd seen but that the present loan or the restructure was not under any risk as long as the hospital had the community's support.

“This hospital is the life blood of this community,” he added. “We want to help, but we don't want to do it without a plan,” Fluhman said.

Shields told Fluhman that the hospital had changed auditors, and that a double entry problem had been found that should lower the accounts receivables he'd seen.

‘The biggest problem we've had is that we've never had a budget,” Lynch said.

“Is the billing being kept up?” Funk asked.

“We are cleaning up accounts to get a clearer picture,' Holbert said.

“We've cleaned up the ARs,” shields said.

Shields explained that she had three more interviews with potential nurse practitioners, hoping to have a new hire soon for the clinic, and that a firm had been hired to find doctors and surgeons.

Fluhman reiterated that the bank would loan the additional money, but that a plan was needed. Fluhman looked at Shields, “We need to sit down with you and your Chief Financial Officer and go through the finer details.”

Nursing Home Director Donna Cain told the board, bankers and commissioners that the employees needed a representative on board when the plan was created. “They need to feel like they are part of this [the plan].” Cain said.

 

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