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With a new sign in place at Sierra Vista Hospital’s Ninth Avenue entrances, signifying continuing progress with the new facility’s development, governing board members gathered for a regular meeting Tuesday, October 29. Although the afternoon’s agenda included no major action items, board members did approve a change order relating to phase-two construction of the new hospital, and later endorsed the purchase of two domestic water heating units. Aside from these actions, the governing board’s primary focus fell upon the review of a financial summary for the month of September. While most items included in the report reflected positive trends, members noted a drop in regular funding received through the state’s Safety Net Care Pool. This was explained to be due to internal adjustments responding to two recent and significant changes in the fund’s distribution processes at the state level. The governing board also discussed recent changes involving Medicare reimbursements to the hospital. It was noted that initial concerns about how these reimbursements would be calculated late last year, prompted SVH to begin setting aside funds to cover a potentially large payment. Having now engaged an initial cycle under the revised processes, governing board members were told that SVH’s estimates were very close to the mark. This has allowed the establish reserve to be trimmed back to a more modest level, which administrative staff said would be sufficient to cover any unforeseen changes ahead. The October 29 session further included an introduction to business office manager Melissa Clark and members of her billing office staff, as well as regular administrative, nursing and human resources department reports. Among items interim Chief Executive Officer David Faulkner shared during his report was that phase-two construction of the new hospital remained on track to begin in November, and that efforts to complete the long-anticipated installation of a new vent hood in the hospital’s kitchen were at last underway.

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