Name of Observer: Judy Hucka
Observed Meeting: WbidbeyHealth Board of Commissioners
Date of Meeting: 04/20/2023
Members present: All five commissioners were present: President Ron Wallin, Gregory Richardson, James Golder, Morgan Cooper, Eric Anderson.
Members absent: 0
Others present (staff, media, public): Staff members present: Dr. David Lemme (Chief of Staff), John Freeman (Associate Vice President of HealthTech Management Services), Shanna Harney-Bates (Quality), Dr. Garth Miller (COO), Paul Rogers (Finance), Tim Waldner (IT/Ancillary Services), Curtis Shumate (Nursing), LaJolla Peters (HR). New CEO Nathan Staggs attended remotely via Zoom but had a poor connection.
Member of the public: Vicki McFarland.
Summarize the main issues discussed at the meeting:
Electronic health records consulting contract. This is a $2.455 million 16-month contract with the consulting firm Tegria to provide consulting for the implementation of a new electronic health records system. The hospital district is migrating from two disparate EHR systems to a single integrated platform (Meditech) and upgrading from Meditech 6.08 to Meditech Expanse.
Commissioner Gregory Richardson raised concerns that he had not been given adequate time to review the proposed contract, which had been reviewed and recommended by the Finance Committee. He noted that he did not intend to be a “rubber stamp” for staff recommendations and that the commissioners’ job is governance and oversight. He asked that in the future commissioners be given at least two days before a meeting to review complicated and high-cost contracts and other proposals before being asked to vote on them.
CEO Staggs agreed that information should be provided earlier. However, he said that multiple people with multiple areas of expertise were involved in recommending the contract. After some
discussion, Richardson said he supported the contract and it was approved unanimously.
Medical staffing. Both Chief Operating Officer Dr. Garth Miller and Executive Director of Nursing Curtis Shumate noted some progress in hiring doctors, physician’s assistants and nurses to address what is a nationwide shortage of medical providers. Shumate noted that he is continuing to work to reduce the need to use expensive traveling nurses. There was mention of increased workplace violence and behavioral problems; staff is monitoring this situation and implementing training to deal with it.
Financial status. John Freeman and Paul Rogers noted continuing improvement in financial status, with several key indicators favorable over the same time last year. A report from state auditors is to be given tomorrow (April 21) and the commissioners plan to attend. It was determined this was not a public meeting.
Commissioners Comments: Commissioners noted that it has been one year since the hospital contracted with HealthTech to provide management services. They agreed this has brought the hospital to a much better position, but they would like a report on the total costs of this arrangement.
Several times during the meeting, commissioners noted that the hospital is in much better shape than a year ago and that most of the serious problems (financial, management,
staffing) are behind it.
Executive Session. The Board clearly advertised an executive session for “education” with legal adviser Brad Berg. No more specific topic for the executive session was stated. When the board came out of executive session, Board President Wallin stated that no votes had been taken or decisions made.
List any issues on the agenda relevant to any LWV state or local positions or programs: NONE
Do you recommend local League action or study on any of these issues? NO
Was the meeting conducted in an open, business-like, and civil manner? YES
Consider the following questions and respond if relevant:
Was the agenda made available prior to and at the meeting? Yes, but no supporting documentation.
Did members adhere to the provided agenda? Were any non-agenda
Tegria contract was not listed on the agenda.
Was there adequate discussion of issues? Yes, there was a bit more discussion than the previous
meeting I attended.
Were any “Executive Sessions” called? Yes. For “education” with legal adviser Brad Berg.
Was there adequate opportunity for public input? Yes
Was background material available to the public? Not that I could find.
Did any member recuse themselves during the meeting? No
List any other concerns or observations:
The Board of Commissioners, with leadership team and staff, meets in person at WH’s Health
Education Center. I attended online via Zoom. Because of the way the camera was set up, it was
difficult to see who was speaking and was also difficult to hear at times. Members of the Board
of Commissioners were not introduced and did not appear to have nameplates so it is difficult to
identify who was who. It would probably be better to attend these meetings in person.
The most important item discussed at the meeting, the $2.4 million contract with Tegria, was not
listed on the agenda made available to the public.
I intend to follow up to get a copy of the state auditors’ report.
Board President Ron Wallin made it clear that public input was welcome and appreciated.
Several other commissioners also mentioned they valued public comment.
Several staff members gave reports and shared various documents on the screen, but copies of
reports were not readily provided on the website, so it was difficult to see the details. Most likely
I could ask for copies of these reports.
Observer E-mail: email@example.com Date submitted: 04/21/2023
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