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Hospital board prepares for new patients, new employees, new board member

Carolyn Shipp
Staff Writer

Revitalizing the skilled nursing facility, introduction of a new employee and a vacant board of directors position were the main items of discussion at the Eastern Plumas Health Care board meeting Dec. 5.

The three-person board of directors made the decisions in the absence of board member Janie McBride, who was out of town, and Larry Fites, who recently died.

“We’re missing Janie,” said board chairwoman Gail McGrath at the beginning of the meeting, “and we’re really missing Larry.”

However, the forum was still able to address the agenda items such as the upcoming Department of Health Care Services survey that will determine if the hospital can revamp its skilled nursing facility after a tough year of Medi-Cal cuts.

Linda Jameson, the director of nursing, addressed the board and emphasized the importance, and the pressure, of the survey.

Jameson explained that surveyors from the department would come to the hospital Tuesday, Dec. 10, and question nurses and staff as well as thoroughly evaluate the facility and its execution of policy. The three-day survey period will end midday Dec. 12 with an exit interview, which will inform the hospital if it passed the survey, and thus can begin rebuilding its skilled nursing unit.

“We are on a task force of success,” said Jameson. “Our nursing care is outstanding … We are going to be successful next Tuesday, I guarantee it.”


Outpatient clinics

A new face addressed the board when Bryan Gregory, the recently hired director of outpatient clinics, introduced himself and spoke of new developments in the hospital’s clinics.

The energetic young man emphasized the need for specialty care, a strong team of primary care physicians and a focus on the assets the hospital already has. He also spoke of increasing physicians’ hours and opening the Graeagle and Loyalton Clinic on Thursdays.

He said he would like the community to understand “that EPHC is here to help out” and just one of the ways he is sending that message is through a new diabetes nutrition class.

The class is formulated so diabetes patients can meet with a dietitian and tackle the holidays with good health in mind. It is open to the public and will be held Thursday, Dec. 12, from 2 to 3 p.m. at the hospital.


Board member vacancy

“Sadly we have a board vacancy,” McGrath said, addressing the next agenda item.

Board member Larry Fites died early this November, leaving an empty chair and big shoes to fill. The board discussed the ways in which to fill the position.

The board has 60 days to fill the position or it must hold a costly election, so it has put out an official notice of vacancy. Board members invite any person interested in filling the position to write a letter of interest and send a brief resume to twilliams@ephc.org. The deadline for the letters and resumes is Dec. 23 by 5 p.m.

The board will review the letters of interest and qualifications, as well as interview the interested people at a special meeting Jan. 6, 2014, at 10 a.m. Anyone interested in the position is invited to attend the meeting.


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