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VDMC looks at management agreement

Trustees also review collection policies

October 17, 2012
Anne Blankenship ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

The Van Diest Medical Center Board of Trustees will meet Tuesday at noon to consider a new management agreement with Mercy Network.

The hospital had previously approved a 120 day contract extension on its affiliation agreement while the new management agreement was being written. Administrator Palmer Schneider said the local hospital and Grinnell hospital are the only two still operating with the affiliation contract.

"Last month, we received a new contract from Mercy and today, they sent a revised contract," Schneider said.

Network Liaison Peg O'Connor said comments and concerns about the contract were considered in the latest revisions.

"We took back as many of the thoughtful issues that the board had come up with," she said. "Then we rewrote the contract. A few of the issues were the length of the contract, the pricing because the jump was quite significant. That has now been changed."

O'Connor said the new revision provides for a 20 month contract and the rate will stay the same until July 2013. The contract would run through June 2014. In July 2013, the cost for the cotnract would go to $75,000 per year. The contract would also contain a 90-day termination clause for both parties without cause, or 30-day termination with cause.

The contract will also mean that the administrator would have to be an employee of Mercy Network.

O'Connor also said that the contract would provide many opportunities throughout the year, including more than 100 educational meetings each year and she added that the network was looking to bring on law firm representatives to help with legal questions for network members.

The board agreed to hold a special meeting Tuesday at noon to allow them time to review the revisions to the contract.

Collection policies

The trustees voted to hire a firm to help with collections on accounts.

Chief Financial Officer Alice Heinrichs said her departments had looked at two firms to assist with collections on early-out and self-pay accounts after insurance has paid its portion of the bill.

"One company, Mars, is used by a number of the other critical access hospitals in the Mercy Network," she said. "They came with some pretty high recommendations."

As accounts are worked by the firm, they call patients to help generate payments, she said, adding that about four calls per month are made on behalf of the hospital.

The board approved the contract on a 4 to 2 vote, specifying that the firms collection efforts would begin at 30-days after statements are sent with a 7.5 percent commission on the collections.


Medical staff privileges were approved for a nurse practitioner and four physicians.

Alice Kerr, a nurse practitioner who will be providing one day a week coverage for the Jewell and Stratford Clinics. She received her bachelor of science in nursing from Grand View College and her master of sciences in nursing in family practice nursing from Clarkson College in Omaha. She is certified by the American Nursers Credentialing Center. She was granted allied health professional privileges.

Benjamin Tuy, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon with Trinity Orthopedics. He received his medical degree from the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. He was granted consulting staff privileges in orthopedic surgery with Board Member Nancy Dermand voting no.

Three radiologists with Direct Radiology LLC, providing night and weekend radiology coverage, were granted consulting staff privileges.



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