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Three veteran members of the Steele Memorial Board of Directors will continue to serve.

Board terms for the three were due to expire and at a meeting with the Lemhi County Commissioners the reappointment of Kimberly Nelson, David Weston and Doug Clore was unanimously approved.

Hospital Board member Mark Oliverson, DMD, said the board openings had been advertised in the newspaper and there was some response however during the interview process a conflict of interest was found. All three current board members had volunteered to continue their services and Oliverson said it was the committee’s recommendation to approve the additional terms.

This will be Nelson’s third three-year term and the second terms for Weston and Clore. In addition to the newly reappointed, the board membership includes; Kristin Troy, Cori Allen, Mark Oliverson and Linda Price. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Hill is an Ex-Officio Board member as is Chief of Staff Richard Natelson, MD and County Commissioner Rick Snyder. Dennis Lile is the Steele Memorial Hospital Board Chairman.

Prior to the appointment approval Chief Financial Officer Jim Peterson presented the hospital’s 2016 Budget. He said the most important thing is that the hospital is predicting another profitable year and profit means the ability to reinvest in the physical plant facilities and the staff. He said they are looking at a $1.2 million net income for next year. He said this year will finish at $1.7 million. Peterson said the reason for the projected drop next year is the reinvestment in additional physician staffing and providing merit increases to keep the present staff here and happy.

Slight increases in inpatient volumes are anticipated now that an additional physician is being added to the clinic. The specialty clinic is offering outpatient chemotherapy services and visiting surgeons. Peterson said even with the decrease in net income and the increase in spending on capital they will still end up with an additional cash flow of around $900,000 which equates to roughly 16 days cash-on-hand. He said steady progress is being made in the cash-on-hand and the rebuilding of the infrastructure with staffing pay increases and additional physicians.

Medical Center CEO Jeff Hill said even though $1.1 million net revenue sounds like a lot of money, looking at the scheme of things he tries to be cautious with the board. He said the total gross revenue of $37 million is a three percent margin. “Our margin is tight as it is with many, many hospitals out there.” Hill said more rural hospitals have closed in the last ten years than ever before in the country’s history. He commented, “This hospital is fortunate to be able to realize a positive margin and be able to reinvest back into our people, our plant and our equipment.”

Hill said in the last five years the hospital’s revenues and volume has grown by about 50 percent even though the community hasn’t grown which he thinks indicates more people are choosing to have their health services provided locally due to the availability of additional specialties and providers.

Hill said that next year, not counting around $2.2 million in benefits, the hospital will be contributing around $8.6 million in salaries and wages to the community’s local economy.

There are around 1331 Critical Access hospitals in the United States. Critical Access is defined as 25 beds or less. Hill said this hospital was recently recognized as one of the top 20 Critical Access hospitals in the US by the National Rural Health Association. The designation is based on approximately 60 categorical rankings. He said Steele Memorial Medical Center is very proud of that recognition. “We’ve got a good team.”

The commissioners approved the hospital’s 2016 budget and thanked Hill, Peterson, Oliverson and Operations Manager Abner King for their attendance.

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