Albert Roork, police chief for Fulton County and board member said that Richmond's experience will be beneficial for the hospital while they are in the process of making major changes.
"We're excited about her being the new administrator. I, personally, like her method of managing. She manages through an administrative council and has herself and four other people who will manage the hospital ... we feel like that's a key to better treatment. Angela has already gone through a new facility opening in Calico Rock," Roork said.
Roork explained how the hospital board toured the Calico Rock facility and visited with Angela and her administrative council to see first-hand how her methods are successful. The board was impressed with what they saw.
"I will be acting administrator in two facilities; splitting my time. It is important to let the community know that the two facilities will however, act independently. Both facilities are Critical Access Hospitals operating with identical computer systems, billing regulations and grant opportunity," Richmond explained.
Richmond will choose her four administrative council members from current hospital employees.
"This will give everyone there more of a say in things," Roork said.
Giving hospital employees more control over hospital matters was also discussed at the Feb. 25 meeting.
One member of the community asked the board about their plans to include the employees in future changes.
"I would like to ask if each person that's affiliated with, employed by, or is in any way associated with the hospital, will they, as individuals, have a say in how their department works?" the resident asked.
Barry Aldridge, chairperson for the board, and Vicki Hertzog, board member, stressed that employee incorporation is one of their main priorities.
"Departments and certain areas of the hospital are going to be allowed to run, maintain and make decisions," Aldridge explained. "As of right now, we are working on a budget per department. We don't have anything to work off of, and the hospital is such a large area with so many departments that it's taking us a little bit of time. But our full intention is to have a true budget per department that is going to be given to that supervisor of that department and it's going to be up to them to make it work in the budget or answer to why it's not. With that they will have opportunities to make changes in their department. To make it better, hopefully."
Board Member Vicki Fowlkes elaborated on Aldridge's statement by saying that this next step is important to the success of the hospital.
"We as a board are so vitally interested in the employees taking back ownership of the hospital, that they become prideful again in what they have out there in our facility and what they can do and what our goals are ... We have come so far and I think every little department has started to figure out how vitally important they are," Fowlkes said.
Plans for public relations with the community were also brought up by the same member of the community.
"Do you have a plan in place that will restore the confidence of Fulton County other than what you've already mentioned that will show readiness and improvement?" the resident asked.
Aldridge said that they are in the process of creating a public relations plan, but need to make sure they are organized before doing so.
"We didn't want to advertise a non-working product. We feel that we're about to get to the point where we have a product and service that's ready. But as far as getting the people to see our face lift and to see the services we have to offer that we haven't had in a long time ... we're going to have to get people to see that," Aldridge said. "Our PR department will really get started towards the end of March, beginning of April."
The need for reassessment of assets and spending in each department, particularly regarding the ambulance service was another plan the board discussed.
Aldridge explained that Stroudwater Associates was hired to break down the whole financial scale of each department of the hospital and recommend adjustments.
"We had (Stroudwater) come in and had them take a look at our ambulance service because we needed this thing ironed out. We have come up with information from Stroudwater, completely broken down and they gave us a whole layout which I'm going to present to the quorum court. Basically it showed ... a $75,000 loss for last year. That's taking everything into play as far as our allocated costs, our reimbursement, our insurance billings, cash billings; everything in place," Aldridge said.
In the proposal, Aldridge said that the hospital board would do the billing and govern the ambulance service just as it always has, but more than the current $20,000 the hospital receives will be needed to maintain the ambulance service.
"That $20,000 we've been receiving for 18 years, $20,000 18 years ago is not the same as $20,000 is today. That number has to be adjusted," Aldridge said.
Paying off the hospital's $300,000 line of credit debt more efficiently was proposed by Dona Hodges, the hospital's interim administrator.
"What we would like to do is go back to White River Planning and get a loan for $325,000, pay off the $300,000 first ... in doing so, we'll pay off the line of credit, and also get the [new] loan for a 5 percent fixed rate for five years, and we bring our payments down to $6,133 (from $6,800). We'll actually have less of a payment and have it paid off in five years," Hodges explained.
The current interest rate being paid for the $300,000 debt is 6.4 percent.
After some deliberation Roork made a motion to accept, Danny Perryman seconded his motion and the board voted unanimously to accept the proposal.
January hospital stats:
The monthly reports showed there were 72 inpatients at the hospital during January, which is the exact number of inpatients for January of last year. A total of 398 people used the emergency room in January. Dr. Griffin Arnold saw 62 of those patients, Dr. Jim Bozeman saw 61, Dr. Michael Moody saw 1, Dr. Rebecca Phillips saw 52, Dr. Kuzas saw 19, Dr. Summerhill saw 151, and Dr. Wozniak saw 52.
During the last 12 months 4,901 people have used the emergency room at Fulton County Hospital. Doctors working the ER were: Arnold 1,194; Bozeman 1,278; Moody 6; Phillips 941; Kauffman 925; Kuzas 285; Summerhill 220; Wozniak 52; Scribner 33.
During the past 12 months 801 people have been admitted to FHC. Of those 801 patients, 632 were Medicare, 20 were private insurance, 39 were Medicaid, 4 were Ped Medicaid, 5 were Champus, 57 were insurance and 44 were cash.