Dosher Memorial Hospital trustees will not have to search for a permanent CEO and president.
The board on Monday removed the “interim” labels for CEO Dr. Brad Hilaman and President Lynda Stanley, who have been filling the roles on a temporary basis since February.
They were each given a $20,000 bonus for their leadership during the transition after the resignation of CEO and President Tom Siemers eight months ago. Trustees said they have been very pleased with the job performances of Hilaman and Stanley, who also had to help Dosher survive an unexpected COVID-19 pandemic.
“They have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they know how to get the job done,” said trustees chairman Robert Howard. “We asked them to consider it on a permanent basis.”
Hilaman and Stanley were initially appointed in February to split the duties of CEO and president once solely held by Siemers. Trustees said then it would be for at least six months.
Hilaman has been an OB/GYN physician at Dosher since 1995 and also serves as chief medical officer and director of the hospital’s Wound Care Center. Stanley was Dosher’s chief operating officer from 1986 to 2014, when she became president of the Dosher Foundation.
Stanley thanked trustees Monday for their vote of confidence in her ability to continue to serve as hospital president.
“We’ve faced challenges since March,” said Stanley. “We would not have been able to overcome them if we didn’t have the wonderful staff that we have.”
Hilaman also praised Dosher’s employees for their role in the leadership transition and for working together on plans to financially stabilize the hospital.
“It’s been very enlightening and very rewarding to see all of the employees of the hospital respond to the transition and respond to what we are trying to do,” said Hilaman. “They are a very special group of employees. I’m proud of them.”
Trustees also approved a lengthy, two-page “Progress Report to Our Community” on Monday that outlines what Dosher has achieved in the previous nine months. It will be available to the public and copies will be sent to all employees.
“This year has been a fulfilling and mostly successful nine months here at Dosher even though we have combatted COVID-19 issues, complex financial issues and personnel transitions,” it states. “These challenges presented a degree of uncertainty at times and often alarming operating conditions were felt throughout Dosher.
“We confronted these issues including the economic downturn resulting from COVID-19 and the vacancies in executive leadership head-on. During the past nine months, we have achieved milestones parallel in magnitude with any achieved during Dosher’s 90-year history.”
The hospital’s new leadership is currently working to improve operations in financial management, collections and billing. Recently, trustees engaged the firm RSM to evaluate the hospital’s coding, billing and collections process. The company has nearly completed its evaluation and is currently introducing to the staff more effective and user-friendly methods.
Stanley said RSM expects Dosher can net an additional $2.4-million in revenue by adopting the recommendations. Steps include better utilizing staff and resources and updating billing and codings.
“It appears that’s going to be a wonderful return on our investment,” added Howard.
“They are helping us every step of the way to fix it,” said Hilaman. “We are also looking at how we bill patients and the problems we’ve had with billing our patients.”
Brandon Hughes, Dosher’s Director of Finance, told trustees results from the detailed study are not yet being felt financially at the hospital but in time will be a factor.
“I knew we had problems,” said Hughes. “The problem was, from where I was sitting, I didn’t know how to fix the problems.”
Hughes said Dosher is currently looking at a loss in excess from operations for 2019-20 of $4,108,721 but that some of the losses will be covered with COVID-19 stimulus funding. Through the end of August the hospital had budgeted a net loss of $1.9-million but the unexpected COVID-19 added significantly to the problems.
RSM will help Dosher with its pricing analysis which hasn’t been updated in four years, Hughes said. That alone can result in $1-million in extra revenue, he added.