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Speaking as a private citizen, not as a member of the Steele Memorial Medical Center (SMMC) Board of Directors, Doug Clore gave the Lemhi County Commissioners his professional perspective on what he called the ‘precarious financial condition’ of the county owned hospital.

At the Monday, October 10, meeting of the commissioners he first outlined his 35 year long association with hospital provider staffs especially during times of financial crisis. He said his management work and experience was with the actual staff members not boards of directors.

Clore then presented a list of 25 positive changes for the commissioner’s review which he felt can be made to increase the hospital’s financial stability. He said his concerns are in the best interests of Lemhi, Custer and Ravalli county residents, because “…this hospital has to be here for them.”

Included on Clore’s list were recommended changes in staff, discontinuing the use of search agencies to fill provider vacancies, instituting an educational program for managers and directors regarding the value of current employees along with information regarding the true cost of finding and developing a new employee. He also recommended a hiring freeze on all positions not involving seeing and billing patients.

Clore was adamant in his belief that former Chief Operating Officer Abner King should be rehired as Executive Director at his former salary. He said the loss of King will precipitate a headlong downward movement in the hospital’s financial solvency. He said that personally he feels it is wrong to dismiss the hospital’s training investment as well as King’s experience in this town and desire to support this hospital.

He also said a solution must be found to a patient not being able to see their own provider. Clore said the hospital is losing patients/money daily over clients not being able to be seen by a provider for two or three weeks.

Clore said there should be a closer look at the needs of Lemhi and Custer county residents and do the things that are best for them.

In answer to commissioner questions Clore said he would be happy to present his list of recommendations to the hospital board because he feels the board needs to have more information. Clore said he will make his suggestions available to the present Chief Executive Officer and to the SMMC Board of Directors.

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