The Brownfield Regional Medical Center Board of Directors met in a regularly scheduled meeting Monday night March 22, 2021. After the invocation, introduction of guests, and the approval of the previous meetings minutes, the board worked on the agenda.
Under new business, the board approved an updated policy called HR17 Staffing. The change in policy will make it fair for staff to be paid. The change includes an extra two hours of pay if a staff member is called in. Previously had a staff member been called in, but the census was low when they got to the hospital, they were not needed and didn’t get paid for any of the time getting ready and etc. BRMC CEO Jerry Jasper went on to discuss how it’s “not right to ask a staff member to get called in and get here… then the census is low, and there’s no reason for them to stay. They got ready to come in like they were supposed to and not get paid.” Jasper also spoke about the on-call staff saying, “Also if we say we need you to be on call because the census goes up, like a nurse, then we are also paying them for being on call for the next 24 hours or until their shift ends.” The board unanimously approved the new policy.
Next on the agenda were the reports from the CNO, CFO, and CEO. Beginning with the CNO report, Melissa Campbell told the board that BRMC has some new vaccines, which is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Campbell said, “We will be having a drive-thru tomorrow (Tuesday March 23, 2021) between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and we have about 200 vaccines we be able to administer to the community.” Jasper also pointed out there will be 1170 Pfizer vaccines coming in at the end of the week, and “We will have a huge drive-thru vaccine sometime next week.” Director Sue Cotrell asked about mixing the vaccines. She asked, “If you get one vaccine (from Moderna) and the second vaccine (from Pfizer) isn’t it the same?” Campbell responded, “According to the CDC, we can give like Pfizer and Moderna as long as they are made with the same composition. Both are made up of messenger RNA… so we can give Pfizer and Moderna, we just cant give Pfizer and J&J or Moderna and J&J.”
During the discussion of vaccines, Jasper mentioned that BRMC has given out about 20% to 25% of the Terry County population. “With the amount of vaccines we have administered plus the ones through the pharmacies and the health departments, there is a possibility that about 50% of the county population will be vaccinated.” Jasper said.
Next was the CFO reports from Paul Gafford. He began with explaining a 42% revenue drop. In the month of February 2021, revenue dropped by $902,000. Once the COVID patients stopped coming to the hospital… we were afraid the revenues were going to drop and sure enough they did.” Gafford said. According to Gafford the total operating expenses for February 2021 was $1,458,000 which was a 21% drop from January 2021. Gafford was able to give some good news to the board stating the PPE Loan has already been forgiven. Gafford said, “This is super special for us.”
CEO Jasper gave his report next. He told the board about the progress of the new clinic. “One thing is that we will not have to spend as much as we thought in new equiopment for the new clinic. We had first thought it was going to be around $2 million, however we feel it will not be over $500K.” Jasper said. Director Brian Paiva asked about the old operating room and if it will be used. Jasper said,”Yes… we will continue to keep the colonoscopy procedures and emergency C-sections in that area. This will help with time.” Jasper also told the board that the hospital will be hosting a blood drive through Vitalant on April 1, 2021.
BRMC has been searching for a new attorney for the BRMC Board since the untimely death of Brad Moore. Earlier in the meeting, the board met Attorney Fletcher Brown who is based out of Austin Texas. According to Brown, he has the experience needed to do the job that BRMC is asking. CFO Gafford highly recommended Brown for the position. Brown told the board, “I do not require a retainer fee. If BRMC is to hire me, it will be a “pay as you go” type fee. ” Some board members asked Brown if he returns calls back soon and if he is available if needed. His answer to those questions was yes.
Brown is a partner at Waller Law Firm in Austin. According to Waller’s website, hospitals, health systems, physician practices and other healthcare providers throughout Texas rely on Brown for assistance with operational and regulatory issues ranging from contract negotiations to Stark and anti-kickback compliance. Additionally, tax-exempt and investor-owned healthcare providers turn to Fletcher for guidance on policies and procedures, physician contracting, board governance, and patient privacy issues. Brown has also earned numerous professional accolades throughout his career. He has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America since 2013 for his “high caliber of work” in healthcare law. He has also earned recognition in Chambers USA for his healthcare experience. Additionally, Super Lawyers recognizes Fletcher in nine healthcare categories, including Healthcare Compliance & Operations; Data Security & Patient Privacy; and Information Technology & Electronic Medical Records.
The board went into executive session to discuss the possibility of hiring Brown. Once the closed session was over, the board voted unanimously to take on Brown as their attorney.