The annual Delta County Memorial Hospital Volunteers banquet and awards presentation had a Valentine's theme. Approximately 60 hospital volunteers and guests attended the event Saturday, Feb. 13, in the oncology classrooms at Delta County Memorial Hospital.
The DCMH Volunteers contributed 15,781 hours to the hospital in 2015. Donations were approved by the hospital volunteers. The patient advocate was authorized to spend $100 on pediatric toys for young patients, and a second scanner will be purchased for $529.69 for the hospital rehabilitation department.
Banquet keynote speaker was hospital CEO Jason Cleckler. He talked about the "momentous changes occurring in health care nationally, in Colorado and locally." He stated that Delta County Memorial Hospital had a positive financial year in 2015, which is remarkable when some 667 rural hospitals nationally are in danger of closing this year. Our rural community hospital is now 84 percent reimbursed for inpatient care by Medicare and Medicaid, and overall with inpatient and outpatient services combined is 72-75 percent. Outpatient services such as the emergency department, Urgent Care, home health, laboratory and medical imaging are increasing in volume of services, with inpatient services diminishing in numbers nationwide.
With regard to increasing competition, Cleckler mentioned Walmart and Walgreens are getting into the primary care arena and Kaiser Permanente is starting its own medical school for training physicians.
DCMH cannot operate in isolation, so this hospital has joined a regional collaborative in an Accountable Care Organization (which was approved by Medicare) composed of DCMH, Montrose Memorial Hospita, Gunnison Valley Hospital and Aspen Valley Hospital; and an RCCO partnership (approved by Medicaid), said Cleckler.
He summarized hospital equipment purchases in medical imaging, electronic medical records and billing software, explaining that quality and information systems are the top two hospital departments significant to hospital operations.
He said that hospital billing is becoming even more complicated with coding systems going from 13,000 codes to over 68,000 codes with the ICD-10 implementation.
Cleckler said recent approval for a 340B pharmacy prescription plan could save DCMH up to $250,000 per month in the cost of drugs used by the hospital. DCMH is participating in a new statewide anti-microbial initiative to lower infection rates, and to date is leading the group. Purchasing, quality and billing departments have been restructured and dietary is now offering a concierge service to patients. The service excellence team formed in 2015 put on the first employee Christmas party in over eight years.
Under an ongoing continuous improvement plan, there are team meetings with physicians and clinical staff on each patient and how best to treat them for the best possible outcomes and patient satisfaction. Hospital pharmacists meet with each patient to review medications prior to release. Cleckler concluded by discussing pending state and national legislation that directly impacts DCMH and all hospitals.
Other dignitaries attending included Thelma Starner, president of the DCMH Foundation, Dorothy Dunfelder, foundation vice president, and Tessie Hartman, Jason Cleckler's guest.
New officers for 2016 were installed including Ida Walden, president; Priscilla Ake, vice president; Joyce Polfer, secretary. Both treasurers will retain their positions for 2016 including Carroll Lyons as gift shop treasurer and Lynn Williams as general treasurer. Retiring officers are Bobby Miller, president; and Glendy Reaves, retiring vice president.
Volunteer coordinator Joyce Picard was recognized for her contributions and dedication for over 13 years. She has resigned due to health issues. Pricilla Ake was tapped to be the new volunteer coordinator.
Awards for 2015 included:
500 hours -- Glendy Reaves, Robin Dunham, Barbara Hall, Carroll Lyons, Barbara Schmalz, Carrie Succo and Eleanor Wagner.
1,000 hours -- Susan Spinden.
2,000 hours -- Marilee Claxton, Susan Flores, Bobby Miller and Randall Minnard.
3,000 hours -- Nancy Hunter.
4,000 hours -- Charlie Gilder and Joyce Polfer.
6,000 hours -- Janamarie Dugle.
7,000 hours -- Pat Moore.
10,000 hours -- Judy Wyckoff.
Five years -- Bill Raley and Susan Spinden.
Fifteen years -- Charlie Gilder, Cherrie Gilliam, Clarine Johnston and Diana Neil.
Also, Sharon Dodds and Peg Lucy will each be celebrating 40 years of service to the DCMH Volunteers in 2016, as two of the original 22 who started the organization for the hospital.
Two door prizes, Valentine's Day wreaths designed by Lori Timbreza from the hospital admissions department and donated by Joyce and Bill Raley, were given away in a drawing. The winners were Robin Dunham and Joyce Polfer.
Delta Floral donated the floral centerpiece given to Jason Cleckler and Tessie Hartman, and also the corsages for officers. The meal was catered by C & J Café's Juan Agredano.
The election results are in at the local, state and national level, and as expected, Democrats are doing well in state and national races. Colorado has elected Jared Polis as governor; nationally the Republicans appear to retain control of the Senate while Democrats now control the House of Representative.
With a ballot full of local and state measures, voter turnout in Delta County topped 71%, with 15,889 ballots cast. Statewide, voter turnout was just over 52%.
Of the three Delta County residents seeking state offices, Matt Soper won over Thea Chase in State Representative Dist. 54; Mike Mason lost to Julie McCluskie in State Representative Dist. 61; and Olen Lund lost to Kerry Donovan in State Senate Dist. 5.
Locally, in the City of Delta voters rejected a .5% sales tax increase to fund recreation, as well as recreational marijuana sales. The sale of medical marijuana and cultivation/manufacturing facilities was approved by a slim margin. Delta voters also gave the city the green light to move forward with selling or trading the Cottonwood and Riverbend Park, and to sell the old Municipal Light and Power Building.