Douglas County to form committee to discuss Health Center report recommendations

Apr 10, 2013

Douglas County will form a committee to focus on how to prioritize and implement the recommendations in a comprehensive report on the Health Center.

Health Management Associates released the report in January. It looked at the costs associated with inpatient and outpatient treatment, staffing, and long-term care. Among the report’s recommendations were to find efficiencies in community mental health treatment, staff the mental health clinic with more psychiatric nurse practitioners, and look for ways to reduce the costs of laundry, dietary, and housekeeping services.

Health Center Board of Trustees member Pam Tusa says Health Center management and the Douglas County Board need to have the same priorities moving forward.

“What you’re thinking is number one we could be thinking is maybe number five, especially in this case because you’re talking about, even though you’re not talking about dollars on remodeling, you’re still talking about an increase in dollars, which we currently do not have, especially with our budget, and that’s why we’re here, to try to not spend any more money, but to bring in more money for this.”

Jim Tourville, Administrator of the Douglas County Health Center, told the Board of Trustees they’re already starting to get input from employees.

“We have just started a new group, it’s called a focus group, and it’s made up of employees from various departments. We didn’t take a look at just exactly who, if they were a union member or a non-union member, it didn’t make any difference, and the purpose of that committee is to meet every week and a half, two weeks, and come up with ways we can generate additional revenue or reduce expenses.”

The Health Center Board of Trustees rejected a plan to hire an outside consultant to help the county implement the report’s recommendations. Commissioners voted recently to keep the Health Center open and not to outsource its management. The Health Center provides long-term care and behavioral health services.