Confluence will cease obstetrics at North Valley

North Valley Hospital

TONASKET — North Valley Hospital commissioners met in closed-door executive session after their July 12 regular meeting to review an interlocal agreement defining conditions for hiring Three Rivers Hospital CEO Scott Graham.

Board Chairwoman Jean Pfeifer said the board planned to vote on whether to hire Graham at its next regular board meeting. Graham will continue at Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster, splitting his time between the two hospitals.

The idea was introduced to the public at a special meeting June 28, followed by a meet-and-greet with hospital staff and the public July 5.

Pfeifer said the idea was initially presented by Interim CEO John McReynolds.

He described challenges in health care and the need to keep the hospitals financially viable to continue providing services and employment for the communities, said Pfeifer.

She said Graham explained the value of a shared CEO, including shared salary and administrative overhead.

“He talked about the events that led up to pursuing the idea of collaboration, making sure the facilities met their mission, remained viable and separate. He gave examples of services that could be shared in the future,” Pfeifer said.

In attendance at the June 28 meeting was Three Rivers board Chairwoman Vicki Orford, who said sharing the CEO would work for both hospital districts and Three Rivers Hospital’s Board of Commissioners were in support of the idea.

The board signed a letter of agreement with the architectural firm Dave Frankland and Associates for predesign of a new surgery unit.

“This is only for the predesign phase of the project, which will consist of one day of meetings with surgeons and staff here to create a design and work with engineers and others to define a cost, then we will look at ways to finance it,” said Chief Financial Officer Alan Ulrich.

Interim CEO John McReynolds said he was happy with the price tag of $36,000 for the predesign.

Ulrich said Surgery Manager Todd Hollenbach is working with surgeons to make a list of any equipment needed in the new surgery space.

“The architects will look at that to make sure to include any interface costs,” said Ulrich, reiterating the agreement is only for the architect and engineering predesign and costs.

Prior to voting, Commissioner Adam Tibbs asked if the power issue was resolved before proceeding. McReynolds assured him the unit was already set up for HVAC, and if geothermal was the option they went with, it would be “pretty easy to run a pipe through.”

“Then I guess it’s okay to vote on this tonight,” said Tibbs.

“We have to start somewhere, and it is a long process,” said Commissioner Herb Wandler. “The Dave Frankland company is very reliable, and we trust them.”

In other business, commissioners:

• BOC approved a $41,526.31 request by Noreen Olma for an upgraded coagulation analyzer with interface.

• Approved a $26,777.61 request by Ken Radford for two new respirators.

• Approved medical staff reappointments for Paula Silha, Sara Ragsdale, Hannu Huhdanpaa, Philip Lowe, Michael Squire and Dawn Heagley.

• Approved $185,642 in bad debt, $2,539 in charity care, $1,388,430 in accounts payable and $8,828 in payroll for the hospital.

• Approved $291,982 in accounts payable and $1,063 in payroll for the long term care division.

• Heard various department head and commissioner reports.

The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 at 203 S. Western Ave.

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