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New physician set to join hospital in June PDF Print E-mail
Written by Kyle Arnoldy   

Additions to the Melissa Memorial Hospital staff highlighted the Tuesday, Feb. 25 East Phillips County Hospital District board meeting.

The biggest piece of news was that MMH had recently signed a letter of agreement with a new physician. Alison Lauber, who is boarded in family medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, is expected to begin her tenure in Holyoke in June. Hospital Administrator John Ayoub noted how her addition will help establish the rural residency program.

MMH has discussed creating a rural residency program in the past that would bring in second- and third-year residents to help out and experience the community. Lauber has extensive university teaching experience and is familiar with large cities and small towns.

“It’s about finding the right person,” Ayoub explained. “They need to feel comfortable here and we need to feel comfortable with them, both as a person and as a professional. Dr. Lauber has a great deal of excellent experience.”

Two local RNs have also joined the staff. Sheri Knight and Tiffany Maelzer, who have both worked at the hospital in other capacities, graduated from RN programs in December and were hired in January.

“I get excited about seeing people develop and move up in their career and then stick around and help us,” Ayoub said. “There is always a need for good, solid people, and I think we got two solid people in those two.”

Shira Leal will also be joining the staff, making weekly trips to MMH to do ultrasounds. If emergency scans are necessary and no one is on duty at MMH, patients will be sent to Haxtun.

After three months of searching, MMH is also close to securing an applicant for the compliance officer position.


Updates and improvements sought

Along with the growing a local physician program, MMH would also like to grow other positions around the hospital. The MMH Foundation has committed to help with those efforts, as they set a goal to raise $20,000 each year for five years for the program.

Last year was the third year that MMHF successfully raised enough money. Along with those funds, MMHF recently provided the hospital with $7,500 to develop nurses, $1,000 for community education sessions and $4,615 to help with the purchase of a high-rise bed for the hospital.

MMH will also be receiving a new ambulance soon as they recently submitted a grant request to the state. Every four years, Holyoke and Haxtun hospitals take turns submitting the grant for a new vehicle to add to their combined fleet, and the state provides matching funds to the county.

This year, Holyoke will be receiving the new vehicle, which is priced at roughly $158,000.

Ayoub also touched on the advantage of open discussions with clinic managers from other hospitals. Recently, the Wray clinic manager made a trip to MMH to see how the hospital operated and how the Electronic Medical Records were being used. Holyoke will send a clinic manager to Wray in the future as the two establishments work together to determine the best ways to help the communities.


Administrator update

Ayoub informed board members that close to 20 junior high students recently made a trip to MMH for a career fair. HHS ninth-grader Xander Nelson coordinated the program as part of the FBLA organization at the high school. Ayoub commended the program for getting students interested in their futures and spreading the word that there are more positions available at the hospital other than doctors and nurses.

Outpatient therapy caps were also briefly discussed. While larger hospitals have been dealing with the cap, critical access hospitals just started in January.

With a Medicare cap on outpatient therapy set at nearly $2,000, Ayoub commented that it is important to track therapy so patients are not surprised when they get their bill. Knowing when they are approaching the cap will avoid any shock when billed and can allow patients to seek other options to avoid going over the cap.

Recently, MMH used grant funds to bring out a group for a consultative visit for the EMS department. The group will return to Holyoke to provide suggestions and recommendations in April.


Other business

In other business Feb. 25, board members:

—held an 11-minute executive session for the purposes of personnel, the sale of property and for an ongoing investigation.

—announced that the next meeting will be Monday, March 24.

—approved credentialing for Russell Bartt, M.D., teleneurology; Ira Chang, M.D., teleneurology; Philip Cook, M.D., radiology; Patricia Coyman, D.O., family practice; Kevin Cuccinelli, M.D., family practice; Christopher Fanale, M.D., teleneurology; Brenda Hinze, P.A., cardiology; Dennis Jelden, M.D., family practice; Judd Jensen, M.D., teleneurology; Timo Quickert, M.D., radiology; Shane Rowan, M.D., cardiology; Byron Spencer, M.D., teleneurology; Michael Stone, M.D., oncology; Bradley Tipler, M.D., radiology; Aaron Wilson, M.D., family practice; Betsy Bronson, M.D., radiology; Douglas Carter, M.D., ophthalmology; Courtney Carter, M.D., radiology; Thomas Lininger, M.D., oncology; and Terry Himes, D.O., sleep studies.

Holyoke Enterprise March 6, 2014