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Hospital board holds special meeting

October 11, 2012

The Pushmataha Hospital board held a special meeting on Friday at 1:00 pm. Since the resignation of administrator Mark Rodgers, there has been a lot of speculation concerning the state of the hospital. The board met to address some concerns about the hospital’s future and to begin plans for the future of the hospital. The meeting began with acceptance of the minutes from the prior meeting and the acceptance of the resignation of board member Bruce Lawless. Janine Stadifer was appointed by the county commissioners to fill the vacancy and sworn in by County Clerk Jane Dunlap. Martin Tucker was voted Board Chairman and Jim Branam Vice-Chairman.

Discussed during the meeting were the possibility of sharing some services such as medical records and billing with the Atoka Hospital. Even though both hospitals would remain autonomous they both would be able to save on expenses and both have increased buying power.
Another topic of discussion was how the Push Hospital could offer more services or expand current ones to better serve our area and increase the hospital revenue.

Local physicians from the Rowland-Flatt clinic, hospital department heads, and local and federal elected officials were represented or in attendance and all were encouraged to ask questions and make suggestions.

A presentation was made by representatives from the Atoka Hospital with examples of how they had been successful in recovering from great financial shortfalls. It was noted that, although the Push Hospital is facing a difficult financial situation, we are in far better shape than the Atoka Hospital was just a short time ago.

One of the biggest problems facing the local hospital is a low census or number of patients in the hospital. It was noted that one of the best ways to improve this situation was to offer more services, better patient care, and better relations with the public.

One goal, that was emphasized to be vital to improved medical care, was the need for more communication and cooperation between the administrative staff and the medical staff.

The board expressed their realization of how important the hospital is to our community and their determination to make sure the hospital remains vital and productive.

The hospital board members represent and are appointed by the Antlers City Council and the Pushmataha County Board of Commissioners, who together own the hospital.

The board members decided that in the interest of insuring that services are not interrupted and that no momentum be lost during a transition period, it would be beneficial to have someone who could make the necessary decisions and be fully sanctioned by the board as an independent CEO of the hospital.

During the early stages of talks about hospital stabilization and redirection, Steve Burrage, owner of FirstBank was asked if he could help out for a short period until things could be stabilized. Steve Burrage, a former hospital board chairman, agreed to help out if needed as long as he had a contract and full authority. He also refused to accept remumeration for his work. An agreement was reached and the last action by the board was to enter into a contract with Steve Burrage to become CEO of the hospital pending contractual and liability details.
The board members emphasized to the audience that there were no plans to stop any services but rather to add services and streamline current services.

Hospital employees were encouraged to continue to do their very best to ensure that the hospital services would not be hampered in any way.

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