Stabilty #1 priority for hospital, staff
by C.F. David
Patsy Shields, now formerly of Hauxton, Colo., knows all too well the difficult job she has taken at Cimarron Memorial Hospital. She has worked nearly three years at the facility as a contractor, doing a variety of administrative jobs.
Shields plans to use a couple of long weekends to move what she needs from Hauxton, (130 miles northeast of Denver), to Boise City; then she'll really begin her work as Chief Executive Officer.
“We have an excellent and dedicated staff. I think what I need to do first is to bring the hospital, and the community, some stability,” Shields said. “They, and the county need that.”
“I know there are hard feelings and misconceptions toward the hospital. I want to restore the faith of this community in this hospital,” she added. “But it's gonna take awhile, it won't be done overnight.”
One of Shields' first priorities is to try to bring a general surgeon back to Cimarron Memorial, to grow its revenue; but she wants the surgeon(s) here on a contract basis so that the revenue can increase with a minimum investment.
“I don't want to see the hospital hire a full-time surgeon, that's too expensive” she said frankly.
Asked if the hospital had the equipment on site to support a surgeon, she readily admitted she didn't know.
“I'm checking on the equipment we might need; there is no time table.”
Asked what other ideas or priorities she had, Shields pondered for a moment.
“They are a conglomeration of things. I am looking at every avenue to increase revenue and services, such as a CAT scan for trauma.”
“We should be able, with the staff we have, to provide more services, with perhaps a little extra training,” she said.
As to where to house such a piece of technology, Shields replied, “The space needed will depend on the size of the unit. We can buy used equipment perhaps one that had been installed in a trailer,” she explained.
Next on Shields list: Using available space in the clinic to bring in specialists.
“I'd like to set up speciality clinics, such as a Cardiologist, then our residents can see the doctors they need here. It's all one day at a time, she said.
Shields admitted that billing is still the number one problem that revenues aren't as high as they should be.
“We are working on them, and with them, (patients bills and the billing department), to clean up the bills. It has been time-consuming. We have sent out seven thousand statements, and the turnaround is much faster than when I got here. It wasn't uncommon for the turnaround on an insurance check; to take six months, now its about a month to six weeks. The process is working and everyone is coming up to speed.”
Asked why, if after seven CEOs, or interim CEOs in just over two years, the staff should trust her to bring the much needed stability, Shields responded, “I think for one thing the staff will be comfortable. Because I've been here with them. They know what I expect, and the way I work. That makes a difference. They already have a feel for me.
Asked how she felt learning that all the board members voted to hire her, Shields said, “That makes me feel very good; that they have confidence in me.”
“I want everyone to know that if there are any issues or concerns, that they are welcome to call or come in. I'll do my best to address whatever it is, Shields said.