HJ - Standard CRHC

Plans are moving forward for major renovation and expansion projects at Clarinda Regional Health Center.

During a meeting June 23, the CRHC Board of Trustees approved an application for a $10 million loan from the USDA for the work, which when completed will enhance services available to area residents.

Projects include the construction of a physical therapy building and the development of additional parking spaces on undeveloped land east of the center.

Surgery, pharmacy, therapy and specialty clinics within the facility will be expanded. With the changes, scheduling procedures can be more efficient and waiting times for patients can be reduced. The improvements could also generate increased revenue for the departments.

Authorization for CRHC and its trustees to proceed with the USDA Rural Development loan application and sign all required documents was given by the Clarinda City Council during a meeting June 24.

CRHC Chief Executive Officer Chuck Nordyke attended the meeting by Zoom and reviewed plans for what the loan would be used for.

Murray Company of Overland Park, Kansas, was selected earlier this year as the construction manager for the projects.

“We want plans done so we can have bids and everything out by early September,” Nordyke said at the trustees’ meeting.

He and Finance Director Joni Christensen noted that current interest rates are at a low level, around 2.25 percent, which means it is advantageous to seek funding at this time. CRHC will have five years to use the money.

Meanwhile, work continues on the remodeling of a building at 1020 W. State St. that had formerly been used as a residence for individuals with developmental disabilities. CHRC purchased the property from Genesis Development of Jefferson this spring.

Office space is being configured inside the building, some exterior doors are being closed off and windows are being installed. Insulation has also been added, and new wiring will enable Internet connections to be made at the site.

Some CRHC functions, such as billing, scheduling, marketing and education, are expected to be moved to the building. Space will also be available for storage, including overflows of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff members.

“It’s a great building,” Nordyke said. “Hopefully in a month [it] should be ready to go, and before then [we] can start moving stuff in there.”

In other business, the board approved the CRHC budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal period.

Total revenues, gains and other support are listed at $39,725,863. Total expenses are calculated at $39,239,887. With other income figured, the excess of revenues over expenses is listed at $910,306, up from $512,583 for the previous period.

“This has been a very difficult year to try to project something,” Christensen said, referring to the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on CRHC’s financial condition. During restrictions imposed this spring by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, elective procedures at hospitals were not allowed.

She said she hoped the volume of services would increase as patients receive care from CRHC’s specialty providers.

Christensen pointed out that the facility “has not raised prices since 2018” but has been “able to come up with 3 percent more revenue” during that time.

As part of the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak, CRHC received $3.1 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, with all of the money directed toward salaries of the facility’s personnel. Through the CARES Act, the stimulus program, CRHC received $3.8 million.

Also at the June 23 meeting:

Representatives of Bryan Health gave a presentation on the cost benefit to CRHC from its affiliation and management agreement with that health care entity. An amount of $3,989,821 was reported since 2015.

Results of an employee engagement survey were reviewed. Issues highlighted were communication, recognition, staff “burnout” and mission statement awareness. A participation rate in the survey of 85 percent was achieved.

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