RIPLEY - The Tippah County Hospital Board of Trustees has raised nursing salaries at the hospital to help deal with a shortage of nurses at the facility, as well as across the state.

Trustees also took steps to obtain another licensed dietician for the hospital, according to the most recently available board minutes. Trustees took care of those matters and other items of business during their Monday, Aug. 2 meeting, according to the most recently available hospital board minutes. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the board meeting was held via teleconference. Those present were: Ray Crawford, Roger Childs, David Hubbard, Vicki Skinner, Lana Richardson, Greg Ward, and Robert Cagle. Also present were Dr. Patrick Chapman, Stephanie McAlister, Carol Anne Hurt, Amy Jones, Veronica Hoyle, Melinda Crum, and Fred C. Permenter, Jr.

A quorum was declared present for the transaction of business. The invocation was given by Trustee Vicki Skinner. All votes taken were unanimous unless otherwise specified in this article. Trustees:

--Discussed the extreme nursing shortage crisis in Mississippi. Area advertised hourly rates were discussed. In order to compete and keep local nurses, trustees voted to approve hourly increases for RNs and LPNs as presented by the administration.

--Discussed nursing retention and the fact that there aren’t enough nurses to fully staff the hospital. Trustees said the hospital can’t afford to lose any more nurses. Trustees then voted to approve Covid Hazard Retention Pay using any available Covid mitigation money. The nurses would be required to sign a one-year commitment in order to receive the funds or else pay back a prorated amount based on the time remaining.

--Heard from Administrator Chapman, who advised the board that the hospital’s licensed Dietician had given her notice and this had created somewhat of an emergency situation for the hospital. Dr. Chapman said he had opened discussions with Healthcare Services Group, who has managed multiple departments in Mississippi. After the discussion of the cost situation in which the hospital finds itself without a licensed dietician, trustees voted to authorize Dr. Chapman to negotiate and execute a contract between the Tippah County Hospital and Healthcare Services Group to run the Dietary Department of the hospital.

--Granted Tippah County Hospital privileges to Shereda J. Saint, FNP-C - Reappointment - Nurse Practitioner.

--Heard from Administrator Chapman, who advised the board that an emergency situation was developing at the Wellness Center and that one of the 10-ton heating and air conditioning units had quit working. The hospital obtained the following bids: 1. Industrial Maintenance and Engineering Company, LLC = $9,750; 2. Conely Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. = $8,000. After review of the bids the low bid of Conely Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. was accepted and the Administrator was authorized to go forward with the purchase and repair.

--Heard from Carol Anne Hurt, the Chief Nursing Officer, who gave reports on Quality Management, Core Measure Compliance, and Patient Satisfaction. The board adopted the following recommended policies: a) OSHA ETS (Emergency Temporary Standard) Covid-19 Plan: 1. COVID-19 Employee Death and Hospitalizations (New) 2. COVID-19 Vaccination Program and Declination Form (New) 3. Mini Respiratory Protection Program and Employee Form for Use of Own Respirator (New) 4. Facemask Policy (Updated) 5. Aerosol Generating Procedure (AGP) Protection (Updated) 6. COVID 19 Screening and Medical Managing Management (Updated) 7. COVID-19 Medical Removal Protection Benefits (Updated) 8.Vaccination Leave (New) 9. Physical Distancing of Employees (New) 10. Physical Barriers (New) b) SARS-CoV-2 Enhanced Surveillance Testing c) Updated Monoclonal Antibody Protocol d) Rapid Sequence of Intubation for Pediatric/Adult.

--Heard from Chief Financial Officer Stephanie McAlister, who presented the financial report for the month. After a full review and discussion by the board the financial report -- including the fiscal and statistical report, write-offs, budget adjustments, and accounts payable for the month of June 2021-- was accepted and approved.

--Adopted the Proposed Purchasing Authorization Policy and Procedure Manual and the Capital Equipment Purchases Policy and Procedure Manual, based upon the recommendation of the Chief Financial Officer.

--Entered into Executive Session to discuss certain legal and personnel issues, then later concluded the session.

--Heard from Carol Anne Hurt, who gave her reports on Compliance and Security, Risk Management, Employee Relations, and Credentialing.

--Approved minutes of the meeting of July, 2021, as provided to board members prior to the meeting.

--Were advised because of scheduling issues, it would be beneficial to change the September meeting date from the first Monday of September to Sept. 1, 2021. Trustees voted to authorize the Administrator to make the change. The meeting is to be by teleconference. A notice will be published in the Southern Sentinel advising of the change of the meeting date.

--Adjourned until Sept. 1, 2021, at 4 p.m. for a meeting via teleconference.

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